General Mills has agreed to sell its 51% controlling interest in Yoplait to French dairy cooperative Sodiaal in exchange for full ownership of the Canadian Yoplait business and a reduced royalty rate for the Yoplait and Liberté brands in the United States and Canada.
The proposed transaction, expected to close by the end of 2021, is subject to appropriate labour consultations, regulatory filings, and other customary closing conditions.
Completion of the transaction would see Yoplait operate the yoghurt businesses in France, the United Kingdom, and certain other markets, as well as managing the network of 28 franchisees manufacturing and distributing Yoplait branded products in more than 40 countries around the world.
Net sales for Yoplait amounted to $740 million in the financial year 2020.
Under the terms of the transaction, General Mills would acquire Sodiaal's 49% ownership interest in Yoplait Canada Holding Co., making the Yoplait Canada yoghurt business a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Mills.
General Mills would also own yoghurt operations in the United States and Canada and distribute Yoplait and Liberté-branded products in the United States and Canada on a royalty-free basis.
Jeff Harmening, chairman and chief executive officer, General Mills, said the group is "taking another step toward advancing our Accelerate strategy and further reshaping our portfolio to drive profitable growth for the long term.
"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."
'Advantaged Global Platforms'
Dana McNabb, group president of General Mills' Europe and Australia segment, said, "This transaction allows us to accelerate our Europe and Australia segment's growth by increasing our focus on our advantaged global platforms, including Mexican food, super-premium ice cream, and snack bars.
"At the same time, we are pleased to be returning the European Yoplait business to the brand's original creator and our trusted partner, Sodiaal."
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Conor Farrelly. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.