SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK - Yahoo Inc will buy blogging service Tumblr for $1.1 billion cash, giving the Internet pioneer a much-needed social media platform to reach a younger generation of users and breathe new life into its ailing brand. | Video
LONDON - From ketchup to hot drinks, family-run investment firms are shaking up the consumer deals market, squeezing out private equity players and forcing them to change strategy.
BEIJING/HONG KONG - China reiterated its opposition on Thursday to a European Union plan to limit airline carbon dioxide emissions and called for talks to resolve the issue a day after its major airlines refused to pay any carbon costs under the new law.
General Mills to buy controlling stake in Yoplait
NEW YORK |
NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Mills (GIS.N) plans to buy a controlling stake in French yogurt maker Yoplait for 810 million euros ($1.15 billion), securing its U.S. distribution rights to one of the best-selling global yogurt brands.
General Mills, which has held U.S. distribution rights to Yoplait since 1977, entered into exclusive talks two months ago with private equity fund PAI Partners and French dairy cooperative Sodiaal.
General Mills said on Wednesday that it will buy 51 percent of the company that runs Yoplait's operations and 50 percent of the entity the holds the licensing rights to Yoplait, the world's second-largest yogurt brand after Danone (DANO.PA). Sodiaal will hold the remaining stakes in both entities.
General Mills expects the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, to close in the quarter that begins at the end of May.
General Mills and Yoplait will also end an arbitration case over the U.S. license, and General Mills will continue to market Yoplait yogurt under that license.
The deal follows months of tense and highly political negotiations involving members of the French government and the influential agricultural lobby, concerned about the loss of jobs in France.
A French industry ministry source told Reuters on Wednesday that French strategic investment fund FSI was in talks with Sodiaal and General Mills about ways for FSI to invest in Yoplait.
"Industry minister Eric Besson has said he wanted FSI to be part of this investment program in Yoplait, with an industrial plan that would support employment, innovation and growth for the group," the source said.
In March, sources told Reuters that General Mills, whose brands include Haagen-Dazs ice cream and Cheerios cereal, was attractive as a potential buyer because of its long-running relationship with Yoplait and the fact that it could pay for the transaction off its balance sheet.
Sodiaal was also attracted to the idea that General Mills could use its international reach to boost sales in emerging markets, particularly India and China, the sources said.
The deal also provides an attractive exit for PAI, which first invested in Yoplait in 2002, when the company was valued at about 400 million euros.
The deal has received U.S. antitrust approval, the Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday.
General Mill's Yoplait buy was on a list of transactions granted "early termination." The FTC puts out the list several times a week. Deals on that list are generally uncontroversial in terms of antitrust concerns.
General Mills shares were down 6 cents at $39.81 in midday trading.
Barclays Capital advised General Mills on the transaction.
(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York, additional reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington, Jessica Hall in Philadelphia and Marc Angrand in Paris; Editing by Derek Caney, Maureen Bavdek and John Wallace)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this