General Mills looks to sell its Yoplait brand

21 Oct 2020

General Mills is looking to potentially offload its controlling stake in Yoplait, according to the French industry publication L’Agefi. The company is working with Morgan Stanley as it considers a sale.

The American corporation, known for Cheerios and Häagen-Dazs, has held a 51% stake in the company since 2011, which it purchased for $1.2 billion. The remaining 49% of the yogurt company belongs to French dairy cooperative Sodiaal, which l’Agefi reported has the first right of refusal if General Mills chooses to pursue a sale of the brand.

General Mills looks to sell its Yoplait brand

While French media speculated which companies would be interested to pick up a brand whose sales have been slipping for several years, there are at least two large competitors that are automatically ruled out. L’Agefi reported that sources familiar with the original deal signed between General Mills and Sodiaal said there is a provision in the contract that expressly prohibits the sale of Yoplait to either Nestlé or Lactalis.

This exclusion does leave other potential buyers such as Danone and private equity firms. In recent years, private equity has taken a deep interest in investing in the food and beverage space, and firms have purchased dozens of flagging brands to reinvigorate them and turn a profit. Still, Sodiaal may very well choose to buy back the brand for what is estimated to be a $3 billion sales price tag. This dairy cooperative is reportedly counseled by Rothschild & Co.

Even though the yogurt category has declined since 2015 when Mintel data shows it peaked at $9 billion in sales, Yoplait remains a popular brand. Its sales were up 5% in the most recent earnings report, Food Dive reported. Statista data show that the U.S. sales for this yogurt brand were $906.7 million in 2019.

Still, there has been a fragmentation within the category since Yoplait reigned as the second-largest brand in the overall yogurt category nine years ago. Greek, Icelandic skyr and plant-based varieties have hit shelves in recent years and diluted the dominance of the French classic.

If General Mills does try to offload this brand that has been weighing on its earnings, it will not be a small task. M&A has slowed during the pandemic, and many companies are looking to offload unprofitable brands as they search to shore up cash and prepare themselves for an uncertain market ahead.

Related categories

Related tags

Market News

Related news

Former Walmart alumnus brings AI to trucking, minimizing spoiled produce

Former Walmart alumnus brings AI to trucking, minimizing spoiled produce

26 Nov 2020

The former Walmart executive Syed Aman has moved on in his logistics career and is now the cofounder and CEO of HWY Haul, a company that professes a goal of streamlining the business of delivering produce to retailers while also reducing food waste.

Read more 
Thanks to low production, turkey prices rise in November

Thanks to low production, turkey prices rise in November

23 Nov 2020

Thanksgiving in the United States is shaping up to be an expensive affair even as consumers have suffered the economic ramifications of COVID-19 for most of 2020.

Read more 
Nestlé buys Freshly for $950M

Nestlé buys Freshly for $950M

20 Nov 2020

Nestlé acquired Freshly, a startup that provides home delivery of healthy meals, for $950 million at the end of October. The acquisition comes with the option for additional payouts of $550 million that is contingent on the successful growth of the bus...

Read more 
Beyond Meat unveils the next generation of its Beyond Burger

Beyond Meat unveils the next generation of its Beyond Burger

18 Nov 2020

Beyond Meat will release two new versions of its Beyond Burger: one with increased juiciness and the other with an improved nutritional profile. Both burgers will launch across the U.S. in 2021.

Read more 
Plant-based brand No Evil Foods pledges become plastic negative

Plant-based brand No Evil Foods pledges become plastic negative

17 Nov 2020

No Evil Foods is the latest company to establish a laudable and aspirational sustainability goal, committing to become plastic negative by remove two pounds of plastic for every one pound they generate through a partnership with rePurpose Global. The b...

Read more 
Plant-based energy shots experience buzz in the market

Plant-based energy shots experience buzz in the market

16 Nov 2020

Plant-based options are making inroads into a variety of categories within the food and beverage market. Go Big and Proper Wild are two new entrants into the space that are taking aim at a small category that has yet to experience significant innovatio...

Read more 
Innova identifies transparency as the top trend for 2021

Innova identifies transparency as the top trend for 2021

13 Nov 2020

As 2020 prepares to turn to 2021, Innova Market Insights released its industry trend analysis for the upcoming year to help manufacturers align products with consumer demands in food and beverage.

Read more 
Israeli cell-based meat company Meat Tech 3D files for U.S. IPO

Israeli cell-based meat company Meat Tech 3D files for U.S. IPO

12 Nov 2020

Israeli cell-based meat company, Meat-Tech 3D, is a relative newcomer to the industry but is making up for lost time with a flurry of activity. Most recently, the company filed its paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to begin the...

Read more 
Coca-Cola reveals its new paper bottle prototype

Coca-Cola reveals its new paper bottle prototype

11 Nov 2020

Atlanta-based beverage company Coca-Cola announced that it is testing a paper bottle prototype this month for both still and carbonated beverages. While this prototype will be tested in limited markets, Coca-Cola said that it is “too early” to specific...

Read more 
Plant-based food maker Alpha Foods launches DTC platform

Plant-based food maker Alpha Foods launches DTC platform

10 Nov 2020

California-based Alpha Foods launched its direct-to-consumer (DTC) platform in the U.S. to take advantage of the growing market for plant-based and e-commerce delivery options. The company's products will also continue to be sold at brick and mortar re...

Read more