Yoplait’s joint shareholders Sodiaal and PAI Partners have rejected Lactalis’s bid for the entire capital of the yoghurt maker.

In a joint statement, issued this afternoon (18 November), French dairy co-op Sodiaal and private-equity firm PAI Partners said Lactalis’s “unsolicited written offer”, which valued Yoplait at EUR1.4bn, did not match their expectations.

“The structure proposed by Lactalis does not square with Sodiaal’s intention to remain a stable and long-term shareholder of Yoplait,” the statement said. “Secondly, the price offered by Lactalis does not reflect either the intrinsic and strategic value of Yoplait or its growth prospects.”

The statement added that Sodiaal and PAI had defined a course of action where PAI would sell its entire stake in Yoplait. Banks had been appointed to pilot the sale and that the process had already begun,  the statement added.    

The new shareholder would jointly control the Yoplait brand with Sodiaal on a 50:50 basis and have majority control of the operating company.

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Lactalis indicated that its proposed takeover of Yoplait could only go ahead with “a majority stake in its share capital” that would allowing the dairy giant “to pursue a long-term strategy” in the business.