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WhiteWave Foods Co., the dairy producer known for brands such as Land O'Lakes butter and Silk milk alternatives, agreed to buy nutrition food company Vega for about $550-million in cash.

The Denver-based company will fund the purchase under its existing $1-billion revolving credit line, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Vancouver-based Vega, founded in 2004, sells plant-based powdered shakes and snack bars. It had sales of about $100-million in the past 12 months. The deal is in line with the company's strategy to expand its business into high-growth categories, WhiteWave chairman and chief executive officer Gregg Engles said in the statement.

The value of deals among North American packaged food companies this year is nearly $67-billion, the most since at least 2009, according to Kenneth Shea, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. WhiteWave remains a potential takeover target itself. U.S. food companies look to acquire makers of natural and organic products amid slow growth and changing consumer tastes.

"I don't see this deal changing things much," Shea said. "It's market capitalization and debt are not prohibitive for the big food or beverage companies."

WhiteWave's agreement with Vega, scheduled to close in the third quarter, is expected to add at least 6 cents (U.S.) to WhiteWave's adjusted earnings per share in 2016, excluding certain transaction and other related expenses, the company said in the statement. WhiteWave has a market capitalization of about $8.39-billion.

WhiteWave shares rose as much as 1.9 per cent to $48.55 on Wednesday in New York. The stock had gained 36 per cent through the close of trading on Tuesday.