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The sale of Dean Foods’ assets is poised to continue without Dairy Farmers of America as the preferred bidder.

In a March 18 bankruptcy court filing in Texas, Dean asked for the change to avoid litigation over procedure.

The beleaguered milk processor announced last month that national co-op DFA would serve as the stalking horse bidder, which sets the price floor, for 44 of its plants across the country.

The purchase by DFA was already in the works when Dean Foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November. The two entities have a longstanding business relationship.

Comprising most of Dean's processing locations, the plants DFA would have bought include those in Franklin and Wilbraham, Massachusetts; Florence, New Jersey; Rensselaer, New York; Springfield and Toledo, Ohio; and Lansdale, Lebanon, Schuylkill Haven and Sharpsville, Pennsylvania.

The plant in Marietta, Ohio, and depot in Akron, Ohio, were not included.

Despite the change in procedure, DFA has not withdrawn as a bidder, according to the court filing.

Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association was one of several entities that objected to giving DFA the inside track. Maryland & Virginia said the process failed to address antitrust concerns and put bidders other than DFA at a disadvantage.

Bids for Dean assets must be submitted by March 30.