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Dean Foods seeks bankruptcy protection, sale

DALLAS (AP) — America’s biggest milk processor, Dean Foods, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and may sell the company off to the Dairy Farmers of America.

Dean Foods Co. filed for bankruptcy amid a steep, decades-long drop-off in U.S. milk consumption blamed on soda, juices and, more recently, nondairy substitutes.

The Dallas company said Tuesday that it needs to address debt and unfunded pension obligations while it puts the company up for sale.

Dean Foods Co. has lost money in eight of its last 10 quarters and  in seven of its last eight quarters it’s posted declining sales.

The company has received a commitment of about $850 million in debtor-in-possession financing from certain existing lenders.

Dean Foods, which named Eric Berigause as its new CEO in July, said its business is operating normally while it reorganizes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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