PAI Partners’ 50% stake in French yoghurt maker Yoplait is likely to be snapped up by a trade buyer, the private-equity firm’s boss has said.

Michel Paris, PAI’s managing director, told Reuters on Friday (10 September) that there was “no chance” that a fellow private-equity fund could make as an “attractive” offer for Yoplait than a food manufacturer.

PAI said in July that it was open to selling its stake in Yoplait, an investment it has held since 2002. Since then, speculation has swirled about the potential buyers of PAI’s shares in the business and the intentions of Sodiaal, the French dairy co-op that owns the other 50% of Yoplait.

Sodiaal has indicated that it wants to remain a shareholder in Yoplait and last week, reports in France said the co-op and PAI had struck a deal on the future of the business.

PAI’s Paris told Reuters that the private-equity firm had yet to appoint banking advisers to handle the sale and that it would “take time” for a transaction to be finalised.

Paris said PAI had “saved” the Yoplait brand in France and developed it internationally. He added that the business would be “a wonderful project for its next owner”.