Danone bids $16.8 billion for Royal Numico
Groupe Danone SA, the maker of Dannon yogurt and Evian waters, is strengthening its baby food business with a bid Monday to buy Royal Numico NV for $16.8 billion, the Associated Press reports. The addition of Numico would make Danone one of the world''s largest players in the fast-growing $24 billion baby food industry, which experts expect to grow 25 percent by 2010. Groupe Danone, is offering 55 euros ($75) per share, which is a 44 percent premium over the average share price over the last three months, according to a joint statement by the two companies. Netherlands-based Numico, the maker of the Olvarit, Bambix and Nutrilon baby food brands and clinical nutrition products, said its board would recommend that shareholders accept Danone''s offer. In 2005, Numico was the world''s third-largest seller of baby food, controlling a nearly 10 percent stake in the world market, according to data from Euromonitor International. That year, Danone ranked 8th.