Carrying the stipulation that they must sell 11 dairy processing plants, the U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday approved Suiza Food Corporation’s acquisition of Dean Foods Company. The sale of the plants was needed to resolve antitrust concerns. Without it, the merger would have reduced competition in the markets served by these plants.

Dallas-based Suiza has agreed to buy Dean, based in Franklin Park, Ill., for $1.5 billion. Suiza will assume the Dean name, but keep its headquarters in Dallas, forming a company with about $10 billion in annual sales.

The 11 processing plants will be sold to National Dairy Holdings LP, — a newly formed partnership in which Dairy Farmers of America Inc. owns 50 percent. The plants are located in Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia and Utah.

Associated Press