Saputo Inc. is buying Morningstar Foods LLC for $1.45 billion.
Morningstar is a division of Dean Foods, the largest dairy business in the United States. Saputo is the largest dairy business in Canada and has been investing in the U.S., Argentina and Europe.
This deal makes Saputo number two in the U.S.
Morningstar produces both dairy and non-dairy products, such as creams, ice cream mixes, whipping cream, aerosol whipped toppings, iced coffee, half and half, sour cream and cottage cheese.
Saputo’s mainstay is cheeses, but it also owns fluid milk dairies, Dare Foods of Kitchener and Vachon and Joe Louis snack cakes.
This is the biggest deal in the family-controlled company history. The previous largest deal was the purchase in 2001 of Dairyland, the dominant dairy business in Western Canada.
This deal will push annual revenues to about $8.6 billion compared with $485 millin in 1997.
There are persistent rumours, and a book, that claim founder Lino Saputo did business with the Mafia.