General Mills boss Stephen Sanger has attempted to reassure nervous shareholders that its planned merger with Pillsbury would give the company a "tremendous growth" vehicle for the future. Before the merger was announced, shares in the US food group were trading at $40. Now they are trading at around $34. But Sanger told this week's AGM: "It's quite common for an acquiring company's stock to trade down after a deal is announced." Sanger said the $10.5bn deal to merge with the Diageo subsidiary would boost the General Mills portfolio through the addition of the Doughboy, Häagen-Dazs and Green Giant brands. And he said it would "enable us to accelerate our topline by an additional 1% and the bottom line by 1% to 2%". The Pillsbury deal would give General Mills "a business portfolio that is broader and more balanced than ever before". Shareholders will vote on the deal later in the year. {{NEWS }}