Denver, Co.— The acquisition of WhiteWave Food Co. by French Danone SA has been delayed. WhiteWave anticipates the deal — which is estimated at $12.5 million including debt, and was expected to close at the end of this year — will be completed within the first quarter of 2017, citing “necessary regulatory approvals” as the reason.

"The company and Danone continue to work with the relevant entities to obtain regulatory clearance and approval," WhiteWave said. "The company currently expects closing to occur in the first quarter of 2017; however, there can be no assurance regarding the timing of receipt of regulatory approvals or the completion of the merger."

Anti-trust concerns were raised in August, when Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute — an organic industry activist group — filed an objection to the deal with federal agencies, pointing to potential harm on the U.S. organic dairy market. In early October, the U.S. Justice Department requested additional information, from both Danone and WhiteWave, on the merger.

WhiteWave shareholders are set to receive $56.25 a share; shares opened at $54.30 Wednesday.

WhiteWave produces Horizon Organic dairy products, Silk soy milk, Wallaby Organic yogurt, International Delight coffee creamers and Earthbound Farms packaged salads. Under license, it also sells certain Land O' Lakes creamers and half-and-half items.

Danone — known in the U.S. as the Dannon Company — is the parent company for several well-known brands including Oikos, Stonyfield yogurt and Evian water.