French government “eyes minority stake in Yoplait”
The French government is reportedly mulling plans to buy a minority stake in yoghurt maker Yoplait.
The state-backed investment fund FSI is considering entering the race for Yoplait, Reuters reported today (7 December).
The future of Yoplait has been the subject of frenzied speculation for months after private-equity shareholder PAI Partners said it wanted to sell its 50% stake in the business.
Three weeks ago, Lactalis made a EUR1.4bn (US$1.87bn) bid for the whole of Yoplait but the offer was dismissed by PAI and the yoghurt’s maker other shareholder, French dairy co-op Sodiaal, which has insisted it wants to keep its shares in the business.
General Mills, Nestlé, PepsiCo, China’s Mengniu Dairy and Mexico’s Grupo Lala have also been linked to Yoplait.
The FSI fund was set up two years ago to protect French companies from the downturn.
“The FSI is looking very closely at the dossier,” a source close to the matter told Reuters.
Rumours linking the French government to Yoplait are an echo of Paris’s insistence in 2005 that yoghurt was a “strategic” industry for France amid claims that PepsiCo was considering making a bid for Danone.
The source told Reuters that the FSI fund could “participate” in the Yoplait sale with a partner.