General Mills seals Yoplait deal

18th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

US food giant General Mills finalised on Wednesday an agreement to purchase a 51-percent stake in Yoplait, the world's number two yoghurt brand, for around 810 million euros ($1.15 billion).

General Mills said in a statement "it signed definitive agreements with PAI partners and Sodiaal to acquire a 51 percent controlling interest in Yoplait S.A.S. and a 50 percent interest in a related entity that holds the worldwide Yoplait brands for approximately 810 million euros."

PAI partners is to sell its 50 percent stake in Yoplait while Sodiaal will offer one percent, thereby remaining active in the management of the company with its 49 percent holding.

General Mills, which owns the Haagen-Dazs icecream brand, has marketed Yoplait products under licence in the United States, and following regulatory approval and closing of the transaction, it and Sodiaal will drop their dispute over that arrangement.

"We see tremendous opportunities to work together to become a major competitive force in the development of global yoghurt markets," General Mills' chief operating officer Chris O'Leary and Sodiaal President Gerard Budin said in a joint statement.

General Mills estimates the global yoghurt market in 2010 to have been worth $65 billion, which good growth potential as consumers place increasing importance on healthy diet.

Yoplait's products are available in more than 70 countries, including through a network of 26 franchisees that licence Yoplait brands.

The company employs 1,900 people and had sales of 724 million euros in its 2010 fiscal year.

© 2011 AFP

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