Lactalis makes a bid for Yoplait

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 18th November 2010

French dairy group Lactalis has submitted an offer for the entire share capital of Yoplait.

The yoghurt and milk dessert maker is jointly owned by private-equity firm, PAI Partners and French co-operative dairy group, Sodiaal. In Australia, Yoplait is manufactured and marketed under license to National Foods.

Last week, PAI Partners’ chairman and CEO, Lionel Zinsou, said his firm’s 50% stake in Yoplait would be put up for sale “in the coming days.”

However, there is uncertainty over whether Sodiaal is willing to sell its stake, the group having previously indicated that it had no intention of reliquishing any part of it.

“The takeover can only go ahead with a majority stake in Yoplait’s share capital allowing Lactalis to pursue a long term strategy,” Lactalis underlined in a statement.

Lactalis said it that it is willing to involve Sodiaal in Yoplait’s development, especially in brand management. Existing dairy supply agreements with Sodiaal would be maintained based on the same terms and conditions.

It added that its proposed takeover of Yoplait would “give rise to a major French champion in the dairy industry on a global scale.”

No one was immediately available for comment at Sodiaal on Lactalis’ bid.

Lactalis has not revealed the value of its bid for Yoplait but French press reports claim it has put EUR1.3bn (US$1.75bn) on the table.

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