French dairy cooperative Sodiaal has entered into an agreement with General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, to acquire a controlling interest in Yoplait SAS in exchange in for full ownership of Yoplait’s Canadian business and a reduced royalty rate for the use of the Yoplait and Liberte brands in the United States and Canada.
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Photo: General Mills, Inc.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2021.

Yoplait SAS generated $740 million in fiscal 2020, according to General Mills. The business includes assets in France, the United Kingdom and certain other markets.

Under the terms of the transaction, Sodiaal would acquire 51% of Yoplait SAS and General Mills would acquire Sodiaal’s 49% ownership interest in Yoplait Canada Holding Co., making the Yoplait Canada yogurt business, which generated $290 million in net sales in fiscal 2020, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Mills. Following completion of the transaction, General Mills would wholly own yogurt operations in the United States and Canada that generated a combined $1.4 billion in net sales in fiscal 2020 and would distribute Yoplait and Liberté branded products in the United States and Canada on a royalty-free basis.

“With today’s announcement, we’re taking another step toward advancing our accelerate strategy and further reshaping our portfolio to drive profitable growth for the long term,” said Jeffrey Harmening, chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills. “This transaction improves our growth profile, enhances our margins, and creates value for our shareholders. Additionally, it increases our focus on the brand platforms that have the greatest growth potential.”

Sodiaal said the acquisition is the next step in its value creation strategy. Yoplait’s European business portfolio includes such brands as Perle de Lait, Panier de Yoplait, Yop, Petits Filous and Câlin, Liberté, according to the company.

Last month, 14 of our dairy farms in Maine, as well as dozens of dairy farms across northern New England, got an unexpected and disappointing notice from Danone of North America saying that they were discontinuing their contracts with our organic dairy farmers in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and elsewhere.

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