Dean Foods sells Hawaii business, Teamster members approve DFA and Prairie Farms deals

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy in early November 2019.
Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy in early November 2019.

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A majority of Teamsters union members currently working in the dairy industry for Dean Foods Company have voted to approve agreements with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Prairie Farms.

Teamsters says the deals preserve jobs, wages, health insurance, and in some cases, pensions and/or retirement savings plans for thousands at dairies and distribution depots across the country.

Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy in early November 2019, jeopardizing almost 5,000 Teamster jobs.

DFA and Prairie Farms stepped forward to bid on large portions of the Dean production and distribution facilities. As a condition of the purchase, those companies required some modifications to the existing collective bargaining agreements, which were approved by Teamster members in a vote count last week.

The membership approvals satisfy one condition of the sales transactions scheduled to be finalized by May 1, 2020 at the latest.

The approved agreements maintain the current wage structure while extending the local agreement by two years. Additionally, both agreements maintain existing employee health care plans if they are in a Teamster plan, or mirror the employees' current Dean health care plan.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4m workers in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Asset purchase agreement with MGD Acquisition for Meadow Gold Hawaii business

Dean Foods also announced last week it has entered into an asset purchase agreement with MGD Acquisition, LLC for the sale of Dean Foods’ Hilo facility and related distribution branches on the Big Island, Kauai and Maui, as well as a license to the Meadow Gold Hawaii brand name and related intellectual property.

MGD Acquisition plans to operate the assets as an ongoing business. The agreement is subject to final approval by the Bankruptcy Court.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with MGD Acquisition that will allow our Meadow Gold Hawaii business to continue to operate and serve customers across Hawaii,”​ said Eric Beringause, president and CEO of Dean Foods.

“We thank our employees for their continued patience, dedication and commitment to our customers throughout this process, and are focused on completing this transaction as quickly as possible.”

As announced on April 4, 2020, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas approved the sale, subject to entry of final agreed orders, of a substantial portion of Dean Foods’ business operations, including the sale of the assets, rights, interests and properties relating to 44 of the company’s fluid and frozen facilities, to DFA for $433m.

The court also approved the sale, subject to entry of final agreed orders, of the assets, rights, interests and properties relating to eight additional facilities, two distribution branches and certain other assets to Prairie Farms Dairy for $75m in cash and the sale of Dean Foods’ facility in Miami, Florida, to Mana Saves McArthur, LLC for $16.5m.

The court also approved Producers Dairy Foods’ purchase of Dean Foods’ Reno, Nevada, facility for $3.7m and its purchase of the ‘Berkeley Farms’ trademark and related intellectual property for $3m, as well as Harmoni, Inc.’s acquisition of the company’s Uncle Matt’s business for $7.25m.

Each pending transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions, including any required regulatory approvals. The company anticipates completing all remaining transactions by early May.


Related topics: Manufacturers

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