General Mills Buys Most of Yoplait for $1.15 Billion

General Mills Inc. won the bidding for Yoplait yogurt, its $1.15 billion offer beating out rumored suitors Nestle and Chinese food company Bright Dairy & Food Co.

The agreement announced May 18 has Big G acquiring a 51 percent controlling interest in Yoplait S.A.S. and a 50 percent interest in a related entity that holds the worldwide Yoplait brands for approximately €810 million.

Essentially, General Mills bought out European investment firm PAI Partners, with French dairy cooperative Sodiaal, which created the yogurt brand, holding the remaining ownership stakes in both entities.

Headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, Yoplait is the second largest brand in the global yogurt market, a category with 2010 retail sales totaling approximately $65 billion. General Mills has been producing and marketing Yoplait in the U.S. for 30 years.

The business will be governed by a supervisory board with representation from General Mills and Sodiaal. Chris O’Leary, General Mills’ executive vice president and COO-International, will have management responsibility from the Minneapolis company.

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