* Danone to sell stake for $470 million
* Move follows deal with Wimm-Bill-Dann’s rival, Unimilk
(Adds Wimm-Bill-Dann comment)
PARIS, Aug 12 (Reuters) - French food group Danone (DANO.PA) will sell back its 18.4 percent stake in Wimm-Bill-Dann WBD.N to the Russian juice and dairy group for $470 million, it said on Thursday.
Danone had said it would rethink its options for the holding after unveiling a deal with Unimilk KUNMI.RTS in June aimed at expanding in the fast-growing Russian dairy market. Wimm-Bill-Dann said then it was ready to buy the stake back. [ID:nLDE65H035]
“The sale will become effective and close upon Danone having received the necessary regulatory approvals for the merger of its CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) operations with Unimilk,” Danone said in a statement.
The world’s biggest yoghurt maker said in June that the combination of its and Unimilk’s fresh dairy business in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus would create a business with annual sales of about 1.5 billion euros ($1.95 billion).
Danone said it would hold 57.5 percent and Russia’s Unimilk 42.5 percent, with the deal expected to close towards the end of the year. [ID:nLDE65H035]
Wimm-Bill-Dann, which also makes juice and baby food, said the transaction involved both local shares WBDF.MM and American Depositary Receipts and will be funded from its own resources. ($1=.7681 Euro) (Reporting by James Regan; additional reporting by Maria Kiselyova in Moscow; editing by Dmitry Sergeyev and Michael Shields)