French dairy company Lactalis has given up on plans to buy the UK milk and cheese producer Dairy Crest, according to a French newspaper report.

Les Echoes said today that Lactalis would be concentrating on its acquisition of Italian cheese maker Galbani instead.

The French dairy group finalised an agreement with the UK-based private equity company BC Partners to acquire Italian food producer Galbani in the last few days.

Reports in the press in December suggested that Lactalis, Europe's biggest dairy company, was considering an all-in bid of GBP£800m (US$1.4bn) or 630 pence per share for Dairy Crest.

Dairy Crest always denied it was in talks to sell.