Yoghurt brand Yoplait has been firmly in the food industry’s M&A spotlight for months, with one of the company’s two investors, private-equity firm PAI Partners, looking to sell up. Here’s a timeline of the twists and turns – and market talk – so far.

18 March 2011
US/FRANCE: General Mills confirms Yoplait talks
General Mills today (18 March) confirmed that it has started exclusive talks to buy into French dairy business Yoplait.

4 March 2011
FRANCE: PAI searches for “right” Yoplait partner for Sodiaal
Private-equity firm PAI Partners, which is in talks to sell its half of Yoplait, has said it wants to find the “right partner” for Sodiaal, the French dairy co-op that plans to keep its stake in the yoghurt business.

9 February
FRANCE: PAI Partners confirms nine bids for Yoplait
Private-equity firm PAI Partners has confirmed that it has received nine bids for its 50% stake in Yoplait, the global yoghurt brand. 

22 November
FRANCE: Yoplait head says Nestle “ideal” partner
The CEO of French dairy manufacturer Yoplait has described Nestle as its “ideal” partner, as part-owner PAI Partners looks to sell its stake in the company, according to reports.

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

17 November
UPDATE: FRANCE: Sodiaal stands firm on Yoplait stake
French co-operative dairy group Sodiaal has reiterated that it has no intention of selling any part of its 50% stake in yoghurt maker Yoplait.

17 November
FRANCE: Lactalis submits bid for Yoplait
French dairy group Lactalis has submitted an offer for the entire share capital of Yoplait.

10 November
Yoplait boss wants investor with global reach
The best investor in Yoplait will be a shareholder that can expand the yoghurt’s business globally, the French firm’s chief executive has explained.

9 November 2010
FRANCE: PAI Partners’ Yoplait stake set for auction in days
The head of PAI Partners has said the private-equity firm’s 50% stake in French yoghurt maker Yoplait will be put up for sale in the coming days.

4 November 2010
FRANCE: Nestle, Lactalis “mull joint bid for Yoplait”
Nestle and Lactalis are reportedly mulling a joint bid for the 50% stake currently held by PAI Partners in French yoghurt and milk desserts maker Yoplait.

14 October 2010
FRANCE: Private equity, Grupo Lala, Mengniu “eye Yoplait”
The list of potential suitors for Yoplait grew today (14 October) with a clutch of private-equity firms Mexican food maker Grupo Lala and China’s Mengniu Dairy all linked to the French yoghurt maker.

13 October 2010
FRANCE: Lactalis coy over Yoplait “interest”
French dairy giant Lactalis was today (13 October) coy about its interest in Yoplait, the yoghurt maker that is set for a change of ownership.

28 September 2010
US: Yoplait arbitration “could take years” – General Mills CEO
General Mills’ dispute over its US licence for the yoghurt brand Yoplait could take years to resolve, the US food giant’s chief executive has said.

13 September 2010
US: General Mills calls for arbitration over Yoplait licence
General Mills has called for an arbitration panel to protect its licence to make and sell Yoplait yoghurt in the US.

13 September 2010
FRANCE: PAI Partners chief “expects trade buyer for Yoplait stake”
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.

9 September 2010
FRANCE: PAI Partners, Sodiaal “strike deal on Yoplait”
The two owners of French yoghurt maker Yoplait have reportedly struck a deal on the future of the business.

24 August 2010
FRANCE: PAI plans split of Yoplait into two separate entities
Private-equity group PAI Partners is reportedly mulling plans to split Yoplait into two separate companies within the framework of a possible sale of its 50% shareholding in the French fresh dairy product brand, according to media reports.

28 July 2010
FRANCE: Sodiaal keen to keep Yoplait stake
French dairy co-op Sodiaal has dismissed reports that it is ready to relinquish part of its 50% stake in yoghurt maker Yoplait.

21 July 2010
FRANCE: Banks approach PAI Partners on Yoplait stake
Banks have approached private equity group PAI Partners with propositions from potential buyers to acquire its 50% stake in Yoplait, the yoghurt and milk-based desserts maker.