Yogurt Brands Put Up For-Sale Signs as Daiya's Auction Fizzles

Updated to add a reply from a company, paragraph 4.


NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Yogurt makers the Icelandic Milk and Skyr, parent of the Siggi's yogurt label, and Wallaby Yogurt have both hit the auction block, according to industry sources, hoping to seal deals in the coming months.

Both private equity firms and strategics are expected to be interested.

Meanwhile, Daiya Foods has seen its auction, handled by investment bank Piper Jaffray, sour because bids were not high enough, according to people familiar with the situation.

Siggi Hilmarsson, the founder and CEO of Icelandic Milk and Skyr, emailed The Deal on Wednesday afternoon to say there is no plan to sell the company, and that it has not hired an investment bank, in response to the article.

Daiya, a maker of dairy-free cheeses based in Vancouver, British Columbia, was seeking a valuation north of $100 million, according to one person familiar with the matter, but the high bid came in at around $90 million. Daiya has revenue between $40 million to $50 million, this person added. The source attributed the low bids to a perception that the market for dairy-free products is not as large as for yogurt or jerky, for example.

As Daiya refocuses on growing its business to prove that perception wrong, Wallaby has hired Piper Jaffray to handle its auction process, a source said. Wallaby, based in American Canyon, Calif., makes a range of organic low-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt and kefir products.

New York-based Icelandic Milk and Skyr, another player in the yogurt space up for sale, is likely to have revenue around $50 million over the next 12 months, said a source, and the auction should be competitive.

Icelandic-style yogurt differs from Greek yogurt in that it is strained of more of its liquid, and therefore, higher in protein content.

Both potential targets were likely encouraged when Noosa Yoghurt attracted a valuation of more $150 million, or more than 10 times ebitda, when Boston-based Advent International acquired a majority stake. The Bellvue, Colo.-based maker of Australia-style yogurt announced the investment in late November.

Investment in yogurt and snacks such as meat jerky is driven by two large foods trends as consumers seek foods to eat on the go with higher protein.

Both Wallaby and Icelandic Milk and Skyr also fit into the organic and all-natural categories. Multiples in the natural and organic space have continued to rise over the past few months. Deerfield, Ill.-based Mondelez International (MDLZ) acquired Enjoy Life Natural Brands, based in Schiller Park, Ill., for several times its roughly $40 million in revenue, according to an industry source. Hershey (HSY), based in Hershey, Pa., acquired gourmet meat snacks company Krave Pure Foods for about 9 times its $35 million in revenue, according to an industry executive.

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