America’s biggest dairy co-op poised to acquire Dean Foods

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), the country’s biggest dairy cooperative, has struck a $425 million agreement to acquire Dean Foods, a major milk processing company that filed for bankruptcy last November. While the co-op is framing the buyout as a move that will preserve markets for farmers—who are struggling as milk consumption and prices plummet—antitrust experts and government warn that it could lead to conflicts of interest within DFA, as well as a monopoly within the industry. An expanded DFA could also exacerbate the issue of low milk prices, which the co-op’s processing arm benefits from. The deal still requires a go-ahead from the bankruptcy court and Department of Justice. Also, if Dean Foods moves forward with another buyer instead, it will owe DFA a “breakup” fee of $15 million. Wall Street Journal has the story.

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