Mead Johnson Nutrition takeover 'not discussed' by Danone board

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mead Johnson Nutrition takeover 'not discussed' by Danone board

Related tags: Mead johnson nutrition, Milk

French dairy giant Danone has rubbished reports it has targeted US infant formula manufacturer Mead Johnson Nutrition for acquisition.

Reuters, citing a source close to the matter, reported last week that the Danone board had conducted an internal strategic review during its October 17 meeting and decided to pursue a takeover of Illinois-based Mead Johnson. 

Responding two days later, Danone told Reuters that a move to acquire Mead Johnson was "absolutely not discussed" ​during the board meeting.

"No decision has been made on what the priorities are in the group's external growth programme at the board meeting nor in previous ones and there is no strategic review under way,"​ Laurent Sacchi, vice president of corporate communication, Danone, told Reuters.

Approached by DairyRepoter.com, Paris-based Danone confirmed its stance, but declined to comment any further.

Mead Johnson, best known for its Enfamil infant nutrition range, currently controls a 13.6% share of the global milk formula market, according to Euromonitor.

Danone, the third largest player in the market, meanwhile holds an 11.8%. 

Acquiring Mead Johnson Nutrition would, in theory, see Danone overtake first place Nestlé, which, according to Euromonitor, controls 22% of global milk formula market.

Alongside speculation about Mead Johnson, rumors have been rife this year that Danone is preparing to sell its medical nutrition division, which manufactures products for those weakened by illness or chronic conditions.

Abbott Laboratories and Nestlé had been touted as potential suitors for the business, but according to recent reports German healthcare group Fresenius has emerged as a favorite.

Money from a sale of its medical nutrition business could be used to fund a takeover bid for Mead Johnson Nutrition, Euromonitor believes​. 

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