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Family ownership ends at Brazilian food company

Yoki Alimentos, the Brazilian food company run by the Kitano family, is to be acquired by General Mills, bringing to an end more than 50 years of family ownership.

Yoki Alimentos, the Brazilian food company run by the Kitano family, is to be acquired by General Mills, bringing to an end more than 50 years of family ownership.

In a statement, American company General Mills, whose brands include Cheerios, Haagen-Dazs and Pillsbury, said it expects the transaction to close during the first half of 2013. No financial terms were disclosed.

The acquisition will bring to an end 52 years of family ownership of Yoki, first established in 1960 by Yoshizo Kitano. The family business was called Kitano until the 1990s when it was renamed Yoki.

Based in Sao Bernardo do Campo in the state of Sao Paulo, Yoki makes and markets food such as dry soups, popcorn, seasonings, grains and beans.

“Our family is confident that General Mills’ global capabilities, combined with Yoki’s outstanding employees and brand portfolio, will lead to accelerated growth in Brazil for years to come,” said Mitsuo Matsunaga, chief executive of Yoki.

It is not known if the family will continue its involvement in the business – at the time of publication, General Mills had not responded to a request for information.

With more than 5,000 employees, Yoki had revenues of 1.1 billion Brazilian reais (€431 million) in 2011.

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