Paris following Yoplait takeover developments
The French government said Monday it was following developments at Yoplait after Lactalis, another French milk and dairy foods producer, tabled a second bid for the company.
"The government wants to see that everything goes off well for French milk producers," an agriculture ministry spokesman said as buyers of a 50-percent stake in Yoplait began to come forward.
Among those interested are Switzerland's Nestle and General Mills of the United States, an informed source said.
A full list of suitors is to be settled by the end of this month with a decision expected by the end of March.
On Monday, Lactalis, which owns the President brand, said it had submitted a second bid for the company, seeking this time to acquire the 50 percent owned by investment group PAI.
In November, PAI and co-owner Sodiaal, an agricultural cooperative, rejected as too low a Lactalis offer for all of Yoplait worth 1.4 billion euros ($1.9 billion).
Sodiaal wants to retain its stake in the company. Last year, the government supported Sodiaal when it bought struggling cheesemaker Entremont.
Yoplait is present in 50 countries and has global sales of some 4.0 billion euros, compared with 8.5 billion euros at Lactalis.
© 2011 AFP