Danone, Paris, and The WhiteWave Foods Co., Denver, have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Danone will acquire WhiteWave for $56.25 a share in an all-cash transaction, representing a total value of approximately $12.5 billion, including debt and certain other WhiteWave liabilities, the companies say.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of both companies, they add. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to the approval of WhiteWave’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and customary conditions.

Together, WhiteWave and Danone will create a unique global leader committed to addressing tomorrow’s consumer trends by providing healthy and sustainable eating and drinking options, they say.

“At Danone, we constantly seek to align our vision of the world, our mission and our businesses: we believe we have a special responsibility, as expressed in our manifesto, to help and support people in adopting healthier and more sustainable eating and drinking practices and constantly evolve our portfolio of brands and products to achieve that objective,” said Emmanuel Faber, Danone chief executive officer, in a statement. “To that extent, we found in WhiteWave the perfect alliance as we both believe in a healthier future and are conscious of our power to lead society forward. This unique combination positions us better to address tomorrow’s consumer trends and represents a great opportunity to step change the ambition of our plan for an alimentation revolution and to accelerate our path toward strong, sustainable and profitable growth by 2020.”