Sodiaal’s Acquisition of General Mills’ Controlling Interest in Yoplait

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP represented General Mills in the transaction. Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier, KPMG Avocats and Ropes and Gray advised Sodiaal.

General Mills (NYSE: GIS) has entered into a memorandum of understanding to sell its 51 percent controlling interest in Yoplait S.A.S. to Sodiaal, a leading French dairy cooperative, in exchange for full ownership of the Canadian Yoplait business and a reduced royalty rate for use of the Yoplait and Liberté brands in the United States and Canada. 

Net sales for the Yoplait S.A.S business that would be wholly owned by Sodiaal totaled $740 million in fiscal 2020. Following completion of the transaction, General Mills would wholly own yogurt operations in the United States and Canada that generated a combined $1.4 billion in net sales in fiscal 2020 and would distribute Yoplait and Liberté branded products in the United States and Canada on a royalty-free basis. 

General Mills is a leading global food company whose purpose is to make food the world loves. Its brands include Cheerios, Annie’s, Yoplait, Nature Valley, Häagen-Dazs, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki, BLUE and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills generated fiscal 2020 net sales of U.S. $17.6 billion. In addition, General Mills’ share of non-consolidated joint venture net sales totaled U.S. $1.0 billion.

Headquartered in Paris, Sodiaal is the largest dairy cooperative in France, accounting for 22 percent of the country’s milk collection and producing liquid milk, cheese, fresh dairy products, butter, milk powder and dairy ingredients. Sodiaal’s consumer brands include Yoplait, Candia, Entremont, Le Rustique, Coeur de Lion, Regilait and Riches Monts.

The Cleary Gottlieb M&A team was jointly led by New York based partner Jim Langston (Picture) and Paris based partner Rodolphe Elineau and included Paris based associates Leo Catafau-Castellet and Annabelle Mathieu and New York based associate Isa Barahona Julson. New York based partner Daniel Ilan, Paris based counsel Emmanuel Ronco, New York based associates Brendan Cohen and Josh Deull and Paris based associate Edouard Burlet provided IP advice.  Paris based senior attorney Jerome Hartemann and London based counsel Melissa Reid advised on executive compensation and employee benefits matters. Washington, D.C. based partner Brian Byrne and London based partner Nick Levy and associate Chloe Hassard provided antitrust advice.

The Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier team included Hugo Diener, Charlotte Ferran, Catherine Ambos, Vincent Agulhon, Pierre Dabin, Didier Théophile, Olivia Chriqui-Guiot, Thomas Servières, Martin Lebeuf.

The KPMG Avocats team included Franck Bernauer, Associé, Xavier Lemaréchal, Directeur, Oumane Gueye, Manager, Jérôme Talleux, Associé, Jean-David Parent, Directeur, Albane Eglinger, Associée, Alban Progri, Senior Manager, Julie Bellesort, Associée, Aurore Laulhé, senior manager.

Involved fees earner: Edouard Burlet – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Brian Byrne – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Léo Catafau-Castellet – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Brendan Cohen – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Joshua Deull – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Rodolphe Elineau – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Jérôme Hartemann – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Chloe Hassard – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Daniel Ilan – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Isa Julson Barahona – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; James Langston – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Nicholas Levy – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Annabelle Mathieu – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Melissa Reid – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Emmanuel Ronco – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Vincent Agulhon – Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier; Catherine Ambos – Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier; Olivia Chriqui – Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier; Pierre Dabin – Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier; Hugo Diener – Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier; Charlotte Ferran – Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier; Martin Lebeuf – Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier; Thomas Servières – Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier; Didier Théophile – Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier; Julie Bellesort – KPMG; Franck Bernauer – KPMG; Albane Eglinger – KPMG; Oumané Gueye – KPMG; Aurore Laulhé – KPMG; Xavier Lemaréchal – KPMG; Jean-David Parent – KPMG; Alban Progri – KPMG; Jérôme Talleux – KPMG;

Law Firms: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier; KPMG;

Clients: General Mills, Inc.; Sodiaal Union;

Naoual Sadouqi

Author: Naoual Sadouqi