Danone agrees to buy U.S. food maker WhiteWave for $10B

PARIS - Yogurt giant Danone says it reached a $10 billion deal to buy American organic food maker WhiteWave, expanding the French company's foothold in health foods and the U.S. market.

Paris-based Danone said in a statement Thursday that it is paying $56.25 per share in the deal, 24 percent above WhiteWave's average stock value over the past month. Including debt and other liabilities, the value of the deal reaches $12.5 billion.

Danone hopes to finalize the deal by the end of the year, pending approval by shareholders and regulators.

Danone is one of the world's leading food companies, producing several dairy brands, baby foods and Evian water. Denver-based WhiteWave, which went public in 2012, makes Horizon brand organic dairy products, coffee creamers and plant-based dairy alternatives such as Silk brand soy and almond milk.