Today in the Fortune 500: General Mills bids for 50 percent stake in Yoplait, another director leaves Goldman Sachs and CEO bonuses are back

March 18, 2011, 6:28 PM UTC
Yoplait Splitz Rainbow Sherbet Package
Image by theimpulsivebuy via Flickr

The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today’s highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

YOPLAIT BECOMES A LITTLE LESS FRENCH, assuming General Mills’ (GM) $1.1 billion bid for the yogurt-maker goes through. The bid would give GM a 50 percent stake in Yoplait, taking over the share from the private equity firm PAI partners. PAI partners has spoken about “keeping Yoplait French” in its search for a new deal, but GM’s access to international markets could prove too tempting to pass up. [New York Times]

ANOTHER DIRECTOR DOWN at Goldman Sachs (GS). H. Lee Scott Jr., former CEO of Wal-Mart (WMT) will be leaving the board in May. Scott joined the board last year, replacing Rajat Gupta, former managing director of McKinsey & Company, who is now under investigation by the SEC. [New York Times]

BONUS ROUND As business improves for certain industries, CEOs are raking in bonuses for their companies’ improved performance. Walt Disney (DIS) CEO Robert A. Iger earned 45.5% more than last year, pocketing $13.5 million. Also Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric (GE), took home a $4 million cash bonus after foregoing any bonus for the previous two years when profits at GE had dropped. Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz was rewarded for his company’s performance last year with an extra $3.5 million. [Wall Street Journal]

GEAR GETS EXPENSIVE at Nike (NKE), which will raise the prices of its products across the board due to the increasing costs of commodities such as oil and cotton. What’s more, the company doesn’t expect see the financial benefit of the increased price margin until the next fiscal year. [Wall Street Journal]

SHIPPING WILL GROW, says FedEx (FDX), despite the turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East and the crisis in Japan. The shipping company is pegging its optimism to increased industrial production in the U.S. and the growth of the middle class in emerging markets worldwide. [Wall Street Journal]

NOT SO SEAWORTHY Sailors onboard Lockheed Martin’s (LMT) warship the USS Freedom, discovered a six-inch-long crack in the ship’s hull during its sea trials in February. The USS Freedom is the first of 55 ships built to sail close to the shore commissioned by the U.S. Navy. The Navy is concerned. [Bloomberg Businessweek]