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French dairy giant Lactalis is to acquire Siggi’s – the US based maker of Icelandic-style skyr yogurts – for an undisclosed price.

As part of the deal, Swiss dairy business Emmi has agreed to sell the 22% stake in Siggi’s it has owned since 2013 to Lactalis. Again, the financial details of the transaction were undisclosed.

just-food reported in October The Icelandic Milk and Skyr Corporation, the owner of  Siggi’s, was working with banking advisers to prepare the company for sale.

The deal increases Lactalis’ exposure to the healthier end of the yogurt market.

Siggi’s, headquartered in New York, is at the forefront of the production and distribution of Icelandic-style yogurt skyr in the US. 

It was founded by Siggi Hilmarsson who, after moving to the US from his native Iceland, began making yogurt in his kitchen in response to American yogurt, which he found too sweet and full of extra ingredients. 

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By GlobalData

The recipe was based on skyr, the Icelandic style yogurt Siggi grew up eating in his native Iceland. With seed investment from his former professor, Siggi started selling his yogurt at an outdoor market in downtown Manhattan in 2006. 

It is now a top-five selling yogurt brand in many mainstream grocery chains including Stop & Shop, Meijer and Publix and recently became the number-one selling yogurt brand overall in Whole Foods.

It expects to generate sales of US$200m this year.

Post-deal, Siggi’s will continue operating out of its New York City office and will remain a stand-alone company under its leadership team, which includes its founder as CEO and Bart Adlam as president.

Hilmarsson said: “We’re excited to join the Lactalis family which offers the opportunity to further fuel our growth.

“Our core values of clean ingredient label and less sugar will remain 100% unchanged. Consumers everywhere are actively trying to reduce sugar in their diets so our offering has a global relevance.”

Emmanuel Besnier, president of Lactalis, said: “We are delighted to welcome Siggi’s to the Lactalis Group, which further expands our yogurt platform in the US with this unique and fast-growing yogurt brand. 

“We look forward to supporting Siggi’s as it continues to bring its retail partners exceptional dollar growth in the yogurt category,” 

The news of the deal will provide respite for Lactalis which has found itself in the headlines for the wrong reasons of late. It has been forced to recall a number of infant formula and nutritional products that have been linked to salmonella contamination.