Dairy Farmers of America has submitted the $433 million winning bid to buy most of Dean Foods’ plants.
If the court-supervised sale clears regulatory hurdles, the national cooperative will gain 44 fluid and frozen plants across the country.
Dean and DFA had been discussing a possible sale before Dean Foods filed for Chapter 11 protection in November.
Among the plants that DFA sought to buy were those in Franklin and Wilbraham, Massachusetts; Florence, New Jersey; Rensselaer, New York; Springfield and Toledo, Ohio; and Lansdale, Lebanon, Schuylkill Haven and Sharpsville, Pennsylvania.
In February, Dean Foods gave DFA preferential bidding status, but the designation was dropped in March after other parties objected.
DFA won the bidding anyway.
In the March 31 announcement, Dean Foods also announced Prairie Farms Dairy had won the bid for eight additional facilities, two distribution centers and other assets for $75 million in cash.
Mana Saves McArthur LLC won the bid for the Miami, Florida, plant, and Producers Dairy Foods took the bid for the plant in Reno, Nevada. Harmoni Inc. won for the Uncle Matt’s business.
Industrial Realty Group LLC has reached an agreement to buy Dean Foods’ Meadow Gold Hawaii business and plans to manage the company in partnership with Hawaii-based 8 Cow Dairies.
One of the nation’s largest dairy processors, Dean watched its stock price crumble last year while it dealt with a multiyear downturn in the dairy economy.
In 2018, the company terminated the contracts of more than 100 farms nationwide and closed several plants, including Meadow Brook Dairy in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Garelick Farms in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Walmart, once a major customer, dealt Dean a blow when it opened its own processing plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
A hearing to seek court approval for the sales is scheduled for April 3. Should those approvals go through, Dean Foods expects the transactions to close at the end of April.