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Danone Doubles Stake In Stonyfield Yogurt Unit

PARIS - Groupe Danone SA said Monday it has lifted its stake in U.S. dairy company Stonyfield Farm to 80 percent, according to a Dow Jones newswire report. The French company invested in 40 percent of the U.S. organic yogurt market leader two years ago. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Speaking at a news conference, Danone Chief Executive Franck Riboud and Stonyfield Chairman Gary Hirshberg said the yogurt maker had revenue of $140 million last year and a 5 percent slice of the U.S. market.

Hirshberg described the agreed move by Danone to buy another 40 percent from non-employee shareholders as the second phase of Stonyfield's partnership with Danone, according to Dow Jones.

The remaining 20 percent of the company is held by a combination of founding shareholders in the 21-year-old company and employees, with Hirshberg himself owning the biggest chunk.

Danone has a 30 percent slice of the U.S. market through its Dannon brand, Riboud said.
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