Diversified food giantGeneral Mills, Minneapolis, said it completed its purchase of a 51-percent controlling interest inYoplait S.A.S., and a 50 percent interest in a related entity that holds the worldwide Yoplait brands, fromPAI PartnersandSodiaalin a transaction valued at approximately US$1.2 billion. The remaining ownership stakes in both entities will continue to be held by Sodiaal, France’s leading dairy cooperative.

Headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, Yoplait is the second-largest brand in the global yogurt market, officials said. The business will be governed by a supervisory board with representation from General Mills and Sodiaal. Chris O’Leary, General Mills’ executive vice president and chief operating officer, International, will have management oversight responsibility for General Mills, with Lucien Fa continuing as Yoplait’s executive chairman.

General Mills has licensed the Yoplait brand from Yoplait since 1977 and operates the Yoplait business in the United States. Today, General Mills’ Yoplait USA business holds the No. 1 brand position in the U.S. yogurt category, said officials.

TheDayton (Ohio) Business Journalreported thatThe Dannon Company Inc., White Plains, N.Y., will invest more than $88 million to expand its Minster, Ohio, plant and add 100 new jobs during the next three years. Officials already describe the western Ohio site as North America's largest yogurt operation. The 400,000-square-foot plant employs about 410 workers and produces more than 3 million cups of yogurt per day, according to reports.