French dairy giant Danone has announced it will sell part of its 21.29% stake in the Japanese probiotic beverages company Yakult.
The divestiture will be carried out through a market transaction launched today by Yakult and expected to settle in March, according to Danone.
This move is part of what Danone calls a ‘new phase in its strategic partnership’ with Yakult. The companies plan to strengthen their long-term collaboration on probiotics, while optimising Danone’s capital allocation, according to Danone.
The dairy company intends to target a shareholding stake of about 7% of Yakult’s total outstanding shares, following the completion of the transaction, subject to market conditions.
Yakult announced today that it has agreed to a JPY 36 billion (€273 million) buyback program with Danone.
Danone will remain the Japanese company’s largest shareholder and continue to sit on its board of directors.
The two companies plan to intensify their joint efforts to promote probiotics through the jointly created 'Global Probiotics Council'. They also intend to expand the 'Ishoku Dogen' program, which aims to deeper understand the link between diet and health, according to Danone.
The partners will study the feasibility of new collaboration projects such as the distribution of Yakult’s products by Danone in European markets, where the brand is not currently engaged in substantial business, with Spain as an initial test market.
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