General Mills Buys Majority Stake in Yoplait

By Antonio Perez
Antonio Perez
Antonio Perez
May 18, 2011 Updated: May 18, 2011

NEW YORK—General Mills Inc., the maker of cereal and other food products, has agreed to purchase a majority stake in French yogurt company Yoplait, for around $1.15 billion.

The deal, announced Wednesday, gives General Mills a 51 percent stake in Yoplait, which is currently the world’s No. 2 yogurt maker. The deal cost General Mills 810 million euros ($1.2 billion).

"We see tremendous opportunities to work together to become a major competitive force in the development of global yoghurt markets," General Mills’ COO Chris O’Leary said in a statement.

The deal was struck with French private equity firm PAI Partners, which currently owns Yoplait’s global brand. French cooperative Sodiaal will own the remaining stake in Yoplait.

General Mills currently owns the U.S. license to make and distribute Yoplait, but was looking to expand the company’s reach globally. With this purchase, the Minneapolis, Minn.-based company will hold Yoplait’s rights in the 70 countries which currently carry the yogurt brand.

General Mills currently makes and distributes foods such as Cheerios cereal, Green Giant frozen vegetables, Betty Crocker bakery products, and Hamburger Helper side dishes.