Not-so-good bacteria: Danone halves its Yakult stake

Helen Cahill
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Danone is reducing its stake on Yakult to raise €1.5bn (£1.34bn).

French yoghurt manufacturer Danone has halved its 14 per cent stake in the Japanese probiotic as its faces pressure from shareholders to boost returns.

Read more: Danone warns on sales growth target

However, Danone said in a statement that it was simultaneously entering a "new phase" in its strategic partnership with Yakult, which is listed in Japan.

The two companies are continuing their effort to promote probiotics as part of a healthy diet, and will expand a research program for understanding the effect of diet on personal health.

Danone, which also owns Activia, Evian and Volvic, sold off diary business Stonyfield to Lactalis for $875m last year, following its $12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave, an American organic food company. Analysts have praised Danone's integration of WhiteWave, saying that it will provide synergies for the group.

As a whole, the group brought in €22bn in sales in 2016.

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