DALLAS (AP) — Dean Foods Co. said Wednesday that it is considering a possible sale of its Morningstar dairy business, which sent its shares soaring.

The Dallas-based company has not identified a buyer, but said in a statement that the Morningstar would be an attractive acquisition, given its niche in a growing market and solid management team.

Dean Foods said it would only consider a sale of Morningstar if it would maximize shareholder value.

Morningstar Foods is a warehouse delivery dairy business that sells products ranging from coffee creamer to blended iced beverages to retailers and foodservice providers nationwide.

Dean Foods is one of the country's largest dairy processor and milk distributors. Its products are sold under more than 50 local and regional dairy brands and private labels. It also sells dairy and plant-based brands such Silk and International Delight creamers under its WhiteWave business unit.

Morningstar was one of the brands brought to Dean Foods when it was purchased in 2001 by Suiza Food Corp. Suiza kept the name Dean Foods when the companies combined.

Trading of Dean Foods was temporarily halted but jumped $1.12, or 7.3 4 percent, to $16.51 in afternoon trading. The stock has changed hands between $8.04 and $17.50 in the past 52 weeks.