French dairy giant Danone SA (DANOY.PK) said it has signed an amended Memorandum of Understanding or MOU with Yakult Honsha Co, Ltd., a Japan-based provider of probiotic beverages. In addition, Danone intends to sell part of its 21.29 percent stake in Yakult.
Building on a formal collaboration existing since 2004, the companies confirmed their commitment to a long-term strategic relationship and shared vision to promote probiotics as part of a balanced diet.
Danone and Yakult said they will intensify their joint efforts to promote probiotics through the jointly created Global Probiotics Council. The companies also intend to expand the Ishoku Dogen program, which aims at deepening the understanding of the link between diet and health.
From a commercial perspective, the partners will study the feasibility of new collaboration projects such as the distribution of Yakult's products by Danone in European markets where the brand is not currently engaged in substantial business, with Spain as an initial test market.
In addition, Danone intends to sell part of its 21.29 perent stake in Yakult. The company will carry out the intended divestiture through a market transaction launched today by Yakult and it is expected to settle in March.
Yakult has also announced today a 36 billion Japanese Yen share buyback program in which Danone will participate.
Danone said that following completion of the transaction, it targets a shareholding of about 7 percent of Yakult's total outstanding shares, subject to market conditions. With this, Danone expects to remain Yakult's largest shareholder and will also continue to sit on Yakult's board of directors. (dpa)