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WhiteWave shares skyrocket after $12.5 billion Danone offer

Shares of WhiteWave Foods, an organic-food maker, soared nearly 19 percent Thursday, above the takeover amount offered by Danone, amid speculation that more bids may be coming.

"There may be competing bids in the coming weeks," D.A. Davidson analyst Eric Gottlieb said in a Thursday note to clients, adding that companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Mills, Campbell Soup and Kellogg "have all been rumored to have been interested in purchasing WhiteWave."

Danone, a France-based multinational, offered to pay $56.25 a share in cash for WhiteWave, or approximately $12.5 billion. On Thursday, WhiteWave's stock traded near $56.23.

Gregg Engles, CEO of WhiteWave.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Gregg Engles, CEO of WhiteWave.

The deal is pending the approval of shareholders, and has already been approved by both firms' boards. If it moves forward, the transaction is expected to close by the end of 2016.

CNBC's Jon Najarian pointed out unusual activity in WhiteWave stock options last week. Speaking on CNBC's "Fast Money: Halftime" on June 30, he said that "for the past two weeks, we've seen the volume building up dramatically. Seven-thousand contracts in the first two hours today. There's the possibility that people are targeting this one, and it could also be activists."

WhiteWave shares were on pace for their best trading day ever. Since its 2012 IPO, the stock has risen more than 200 percent.

WWAV since IPOSource: FactSet

Hain Celestial Group, another organic-food company, saw its shares rise in sympathy with WhiteWave's on Thursday, gaining about 7 percent.

Disclosure: "D.A. Davidson & Co. expects to receive, or intends to seek, compensation for investment banking services from WhiteWave in the next three months."