Danone to create a public benefit corporation to hold WhiteWave

The French multinational food company signaled it wants to preserve WhiteWave’s healthy vibe after completing its $10 billion acquisition of the U.S. dairy company.

Danone Dairy and WhiteWave’s health-focused brands (including Horizon Organic, Silk and Earthbound Farm) will combine under the name DanoneWave, which will become one of the largest “public benefit corporations” to date.

Benefit corporations, now enabled by legislation in 31 states and the District of Columbia, specify their intentions to pursue social objectives beyond only shareholder value.

“#DanoneWave will treat people, purpose, and profit as coexisting priorities, all of which are vital to our success,” the new company said in one of its first tweets.

Such statements bear scrutiny. Benefit corporations with a single shareholder, such as Danone, “can decide whether benefit reports are public and also whether its benefit assessment is subject to a third-party audit,” impact investing lawyer Bruce Campbell of Blue Dot Advocates told ImpactAlpha.

Please share your thoughts on how to anchor a venture’s mission through an acquisition and beyond via TheBrief@impactalpha.com or on Twitter @impactalpha.

This post originally appeared in ImpactAlpha's daily newsletter. Get The Brief.

Photo credit: Bloomberg

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