Hain Shares Surge as WhiteWave Deal Spurs Speculation of Buyout

Hain Celestial Group Inc. surged the most in almost two years as Danone SA’s takeover of WhiteWave Foods Co. spurred speculation that the maker of herbal tea and organic snacks may be the next buyout target on large foodmakers’ wish list.

Hain rose as much as 12 percent to $52.83 in New York, the biggest intraday gain since August 2014. The shares already had climbed 17 percent this year through Wednesday.

Hain, which supplies organic and natural products to Whole Foods Market Inc. and other grocers, has been pursuing $100 million in cost cuts and in May announced plans to reorganize its operations. The company has been mentioned as a takeover target as large packaged-food companies turn to acquisitions to add products that meet changing consumer tastes. Danone’s $10 billion takeover of WhiteWave has put Lake Success, New York-based Hain back in the spotlight, said Ken Shea, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

“These are both companies that are pursuing the good-for-you strategy,” he said. “Hain’s product line is in sync with where consumers are going.”

Other smaller food companies also gained on the news. Amplify Snack Brands Inc., the maker of SkinnyPop popcorn and Paqui tortilla chips, climbed as much as 5.8 percent to $15.60. Lifeway Foods Inc., which sells a cultured-milk smoothie drink called Kefir, advanced as much as 11 percent to $11.94.

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