Groupe Lactalis has launched a €3.4nm (£3bn) takeover bid for Italian rival Parmalat.

The French dairy giant already owns a 29% stake in the company. Trading in Parmalat shares was suspended following the news.

President maker Lactalis was recently linked with a move for UK group Dairy Crest, although a bid did not materialise.

It acquired organic yoghurt brand Rachel’s in July 2010 but last month lost out in the race to buy domestic rival Yoplait, which was subsequently snapped up by US group General Mills.

A sale would mark the latest twist in Parmalat’s colourful recent history. The company collapsed in 2003 with debts of €14bn but was re-launched on the Milan stock exchange in 2005. It has annual sales of around €4.3bn.

Read more
Dairy Crest up on takeover talk (7 April 2011)
General Mills wins race for Yoplait stake (18 March 2011)
Bargain hunting: buyers eye cut-price M&A bonanza (analysis; 5 February 2011)