Canadian company Saputo secures agreement to acquire Wensleydale Dairy Products, the firm behind Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese

The Canadian company Saputo Inc  has entered into an agreement to acquire the activities of Wensleydale Dairy Products Limited.

Library image of Wensleydale Creamery

The business, which will join Saputo’s Dairy Division (UK) under its Europe Sector, operates two facilities based in North Yorkshire and employs around 210 people.

The purchase price of £23 million, on a cash-free and debt-free basis, will be paid in cash at closing, Saputo said.

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In a statement, Saputo said: "Wensleydale Dairy Products manufactures, blends, markets, and distributes a variety of specialty and regional cheeses, including Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, which will complement and broaden the company’s existing range of British cheeses, including Cathedral City and Davidstow cheddars.

"The business sources its milk from 40 local farms and uses its own unique cheesemaking starter cultures. With this strategic acquisition, Saputo is pleased to add another leading and prominent UK cheese brand to its portfolio. Wensleydale Dairy Products’ range of cheeses is also exported around the world."

“Wensleydale Dairy Products is home to an immense amount of passion, care, and tradition,” said Lino A. Saputo, Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Saputo Inc. “Not only is it a well-established British business with high-quality products and award-winning cheeses, but our corporate cultures are well-aligned, and I’m delighted to welcome the entire team into the Saputo family.”

Subject to UK regulatory requirements, the transaction is expected to close in the second half of July 2021.

Saputo Inc. is a publicly traded company and its shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Saputo is one of the top 10 dairy processors in the world. In the United Kingdom, Saputo is the largest manufacturer of branded cheese and a major manufacturer of dairy spreads.

Jonathan Simms and Kaira Clarehugh of Clarion’s corporate team advised Wensleydale Dairy Products; and Taiga Associates provided advisory services.