Lactalis makes a move for Yoplait with a £1bn plus offer

City A.M. Reporter
EUROPE’S largest dairy group Lactalis said it had offered to buy all of French yoghurt maker Yoplait with a view to creating a world dairy giant.

Unlisted Lactalis did not put a price tag on its offer, but a source close to the deal said the offer valued Yoplait at around €1.3bn (£1.1bn), or over 10 times its operating profit.

The Lactalis offer would however be below the €1.5bn pricetag some close to Yoplait have been looking for.

“The Lactalis offer, the sole French offer, would give birth to a big French dairy sector champion worldwide and would keep the Yoplait brand within the national patrimony,” Lactalis said.

Unlisted Yoplait has been in the spotlight since the summer when private equity fund PAI Partners said it wanted to sell its 50 per cent stake in the company.

The sale process, which started this month, could also draw interest from food giants such as Nestle, General Mills, which distributes the Yoplait brand in the United states, Asian food groups and private equity groups.

The sale process was officially launched a few days ago, according to sources.

The second largest Yoplait stakeholder, France’s largest milk cooperative Sodiaal, reiterated yesterday it would not sell its 50 per cent stake.