Saputo Inc., the largest dairy processor in Canada and the third-largest cheese producer in the U.S., has reached an agreement to purchase Fairmont Cheese Holdings Inc., which owns DCI Cheese Co. Inc., according to Feedstuffs.com
DCI is the largest importer, manufacturer and marketer of specialty cheeses in the U.S., with a major portfolio of branded and private-label specialty cheeses, dips, spreads, hummus and salsa.
The Richfield, Wis.-based cheese maker’s portfolio includes brand names such as County Line, Great Midwest, Joan of Arc, King’s Choice, Nikkos, Salemville, il Giardino, Organic Creamery and other various private labels.
Saputo produces, markets and distributes a variety of cheese, fluid milk, yogurt, dairy ingredients and snack-cakes. With Canadian headquarters in Saint Leonard, Quebec, Saputo is the 12th-largest dairy processor in the world.
Its products are sold in more than 40 countries under brand names such as Saputo, Alexis de Portneuf, Armstrong, Baxter, Dairyland, Dragone, DuVillage 1860, Frigo Cheese Heads, HOP&GO!, Stella, Nutrilait and Rondeau.
’s purchase price equaling $270.5 million on a debt-free basis, to be paid in cash.
The transaction is subject to usual conditions, including regulatory approval, and is expected to close by the end of March 2011. The deal would give Saputo control over Fairmount’s subsidiary, and under the terms of the agreement, Saputo would also own a distribution center in Carlstadt, N.J.
Saputo’s decision to include DCI Cheese’s products will no doubt complement the activities of Saputo Dairy Products Division and increase its presence in the specialty cheese category in the United States.
“We are very excited to become a part of the Saputo team,” Fairmount Cheese Holdings Chief Executive Officer Michael Mulhern said in a statement. “Saputo is a high-performance organization with significant manufacturing and operational resources which will enhance our ability to better serve customers.”
The buy is Saputo’s biggest deal since the $465 million purchase of Neilson Dairy in 2008. That same year, Saputo acquired Alto Dairy Cooperative, one of Wisconsin’s oldest farmer-owned cooperatives, for $160 million.
At that time, Alto had the largest U.S. cheese plant east of the Mississippi River, in Waupun, and a smaller plant in Black Creek.
DCI Cheese’s Kristy Klug, marketing communications specialist, told WinmoEdge that the company will not issue any new comments regarding the acquisition until it is finalized.
Sandy Vassiadis, director of corporate communications at Saputo, expressed similar sentiments as well. She told WinmoEdge that once the acquisition deal has closed at the end of the month, Saputo would be better prepared to speak beyond the information stated in the original announcement.
According to AgencyCompile, La Grange, Ill.-based Boomm! Marketing & Communications
handled marketing and communications projects for Saputo USA in 2003 and 2008, though there are no other known or current agency relationships at this time.
Saputo’s media budget for 2009 reached about $1.01 million, with about $800,000 put toward free-standing insert coupons, $140,000 toward Internet ads and $110,000 toward national magazine ads, The Nielsen Company reported.
Fairmount Cheese Holdings Inc. does not have any known relationships with marketing and/or communications agencies.
6869 Metropolitan Boulevard, East
Saint Leonard, QC H1P 1X8 Canada
Dino Dello Sbarba
President & Chief Operating Officer, Dairy Products Division Canada
Lino Saputo, Jr.
President & Chief Executive Officer
DCI Cheese Co., Inc.
3018 Helsan Drive
P.O. Box 282
Richfield, WI 53076
Marketing Communications Specialist
Chief Executive Officer – Fairmount Cheese Holdings, Inc.