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General Mills, Nestle lead bidders for Yoplait: report

NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Mills Inc <GIS.N> and Nestle SA <NESN.VX> are among leading candidates to buy a 50 percent stake in French yogurt maker Yoplait, Bloomberg said on Monday, citing people familiar with the process.

General Mills and Nestle have submitted offers for the Yoplait stake being sold by private equity firm PAI Partners, valuing the yogurt maker at about $2.2 billion, or 1.6 billion euros, the report said.

While China's Bright Dairy & Food Co submitted the highest offer that valued Yoplait at about 1.7 billion euros, it remains uncertain whether it will be able to gain final approval from the Chinese authorities, the report said.

PAI may select a final bidder in the next few weeks, the report said. Axa Private Equity is the only remaining buyout firm in the race, according to the report.

Representatives for General Mills and Nestle were not immediately available for comment.

Yoplait said earlier this month that it had received nine preliminary offers for a 50 percent stake in the world's second-largest yogurt maker.

PAI hired bankers in September to sell its stake. Sodiaal, the French farming cooperative, has said it will retain the remaining 50 percent.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)