Yoplait owners reject £1.2bn Lactalis bid

City A.M. Reporter
THE owners of French yoghurt maker Yoplait rejected a €1.4bn (£1.19bn) unsolicited bid from Europe’s largest dairy group, Lactalis yesterday, saying it was too low and would force out a major shareholder.

Unlisted Yoplait, which competes with food giant Danone, has been in the spotlight since the summer when private equity fund PAI Partners said it wanted to sell its 50 per cent stake.

The other half of Yoplait is owned by Sodiaal, a dairy co-operative, which wants to keep its participation.

Lactalis’ offer, made on 16 November, was for all of Yoplait.

“The price proposed by Lactalis neither reflects the intrinsic nor strategic value of Yoplait, nor its growth potential,” Sodiaal and PAI said in a joint press release.

The sale process, which officially started a few days ago, 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.

Lucien Fa, who had been with Danone for 21 years, came on board as chief executive in 2002. Following a restructuring plan, the loss-making Yoplait returned to profit.