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Dean Foods and Land O'Lakes Complete Fluid Dairy Sale and Joint Venture

FRANKLIN PARK, Ill., July 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Dean Foods Company (NYSE: DF) and Land O'Lakes, Inc., announced today that Dean Foods has completed the purchase of Land O'Lakes Upper Midwest fluid milk operations. The two organizations have also formed a joint venture to nationally market and license certain value-added fluid and cultured dairy products to further expand the LAND O LAKES(R) brand. Both agreements include long-term licensing arrangements for use of the LAND O LAKES brand name.

"In this transaction, Dean Foods is acquiring a strong and successful fluid dairy business that commands the leading position in its regional market," said Howard Dean, chairman and chief executive officer of Dean Foods. "In addition, this acquisition offers Dean a unique opportunity to go to market with one of the best known brands in the dairy industry and to extend the LAND O LAKES brand name into new, value-added fluid and cultured dairy products and into new geographical markets."

"Land O'Lakes sees this joint venture as an opportunity to further leverage the strength of our brand and reputation for quality, and extend the geographic reach of our most innovative fluid dairy products," said Chris Policinski, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Land O'Lakes Dairy Foods Value-Added Group. "In addition, the proceeds from the sale of our regional fluid dairy business will enable us to further invest in and strengthen our core businesses on behalf of our members."

The asset purchase encompasses all the operating assets of Land O'Lakes Fluid Dairy Division, including four fluid dairy plants located in Woodbury (Twin Cities area) and Thief River Falls, Minnesota, Bismarck, North Dakota and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as well as a new extended-shelf-life (ESL) dairy and cultured plant located in Richland Center, Wisconsin.

The acquired dairy division generates annual sales of approximately $310 million and markets a full line of fluid milk, yogurt, creams, sour cream and cottage cheese, 85% of which is sold under the LAND O LAKES brand name. Land O'Lakes will be the long-term agent for supplying the raw milk requirements of the plants acquired by Dean Foods.

Under the separate joint venture agreement, Land O'Lakes and Dean Foods each hold a 50% interest in an independent entity having the U.S. rights to market and license LAND O LAKES brand cream, half and half, sour cream and extended-shelf-life products, including the successful GRIP'N GO(TM) single-serve milk and to develop new consumer-friendly, value-added dairy products.

No significant changes are anticipated in plant operations, employment or the positioning of the LAND O LAKES brand name.

Dean Foods ( ) is one of the nation's leading dairy processors and distributors producing a full line of branded and private-label products, including fluid milk, ice cream and extended-shelf-life products, which are sold under the Dean Foods and other strong regional brand names. Dean Foods is the industry leader in other food products, including pickles, powdered non-dairy coffee creamers, aseptically packaged foodservice products, and refrigerated dips and salad dressings. Total Dean Foods' sales are approximately $4 billion annually.

Land O'Lakes ( ) is a national farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative, with sales approaching $6 billion. Land O'Lakes does business in all 50 states and more than 50 countries. It is a leading marketer of a full line of dairy-based consumer, foodservice and food ingredient products across the U.S.; services its international customers with a variety of food and animal food ingredients; and provides farmers and local cooperatives with an extensive line of agricultural supplies (feed, seed, plant food and crop protection products) and services.

SOURCE Dean Foods

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Company News On-Call: fax, 800-758-5804, ext. 109161

CONTACT: Eric Blanchard of Dean Foods, 847-233-5218; or LydiaBotham of Land O'Lakes, 651-481-2123