- Danone's newly created venture capital arm, Danone Manifesto Ventures, is set to make its first acquisition: a minority stake in French manufacturer Michel et Augustin.
- Michel et Augustin, which produces a variety of premium products, including biscuits, dairy, fresh desserts, and beverages, reported sales of €40 million in 2015, a significant increase year over year, according to a news release.
- Danone Manifesto Ventures is based in New York and will be fully operational by this fall.
With this announcement, Danone is yet another major manufacturer launching a venture capital arm. Kellogg announced its new venture capital unit eighteen94 capital (1894) earlier this month, and in May Hain Celestial announced its own VC unit, Cultivate Ventures, with a major brand restructuring.
Danone said its venture unit will provide the usual financial and operational support to the companies it invests in. At the same time, Danone will draw insights from those companies that align with Danone's Manifesto to "promote healthier, more sustainable eating practices that emphasize the cultural diversity encompassed by alimentation," according to a news release.
Danone has largely focused its portfolio around dairy products, and this minority stake would provide the company access to premium dairy products, which are driving sales for manufacturers such as Dean Foods and WhiteWave. But Danone can also use this investment to pivot and gain insights into other categories, such as biscuits and desserts, which could be a sign of future diversification for the company.