Private-equity firm PAI Partners has reportedly received nine bids for its 50% stake in global yoghurt business YOPLAIT.

According to a report in French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche yesterday (6 February), Nestle, General Mills and Lactalis are among the bidders for Pai‘s stake.

French cheese maker Groupe Bel, Mexican dairy processor Grupo Lala and China’s Bright Food are also each said to have submitted an offer.

Three private-equity firms – Lion Capital, AXA Private Equity and Bain Capital – make up the nine bidders, the newspaper claimed.

FSi, a strategic investment fund owned by the French government, is supporting Bel’s bid and could acquire a minority part of PAI’s shares, the report added.

Speculation has swirled around Yoplait since the summer. French dairy co-operative Sodiaal, which is the other 50% shareholder in Yoplait, wants to keep its shares in the business.

The only potential suitor to have publicly declared its interest or to have already made a bid is Lactalis, which had a EUR1.4bn bid for the whole of Yoplait rejected by PAI and Sodiaal in November.