Dean Foods has announced that it and substantially all of its subsidiaries have initiated voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings in the Southern District of Texas. The company intends to use this process to protect and support its ongoing business operations and address debt and unfunded pension obligations while it works toward an orderly and efficient sale of the company.

Dean Foods also announced that it is engaged in advanced discussions with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) regarding a potential sale of substantially all assets of the company. If the parties ultimately reach agreement on the terms of a sale, such transaction would be subject to regulatory approval and would be subject to higher or otherwise better offers in the bankruptcy.

The company has received a commitment of approximately $850 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from certain of its existing lenders, led by Rabobank. Following court approval, the company expects to use the DIP financing, together with cash on hand and operating cash flows, to support its continued operation throughout this process, including payment of employee wages and benefits without interruption and payment to suppliers and vendors in full under normal terms for goods and services provided on or after the filing date.

“The actions we are announcing today are designed to enable us to continue serving our customers and operating as normal as we work toward the sale of our business,” said Eric Beringause, who recently joined Dean Foods as president and CEO. “We have a strong operational footprint and distribution network, a robust portfolio of leading national brands, and extensive private label capabilities, all supported by approximately 15,000 dedicated employees around the country. Despite our best efforts to make our business more agile and cost-efficient, we continue to be impacted by a challenging operating environment marked by continuing declines in consumer milk consumption.”

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