Dean Foods Co. (NYSE: DF) will acquire Friendly’s Ice Cream LLC’s retail ice cream business for $155 million in cash. The sale does not include Friendly’s restaurants, which will still be backed by Sun Capital Partners Inc.
The target manufactures frozen ice cream, cakes and sundae cups that are distributed through more than eight thousand retailers. The business generated $166 million in sales in 2015 and will still operate out of its Wilbraham, Massachusetts, facilities with its management staying in place.
“Friendly’s is an ideal complement to our other heritage brands across the country and fills a manufacturing and retail ice cream void in our nationwide footprint,” says Dean Foods CEO Gregg Tanner. As part of the deal, Dean Foods will also acquire the Friendly’s trademark and will license the name to the restaurants.
Dean Foods, based in Dallas, is known for distributing dairy products. The company owns or licenses 50 brands including Meadow Brook, Oak Farms and Tuscan.
Food companies continue to receive high interest from both private equity and strategic buyers. Clayton Dubilier & Rice is investing an undisclosed amount in sausage casings producer Kalle GmbH; The Hershey Co. (NYSE: HSY) has purchased snacks company Ripple Brand Collective LLC; and Peak Rock said it will acquire food service company Diamond Crystal Brands Inc.
Rothschild and Gibson Dunn are advising Dean Foods. Lazard Middle Market and Morgan Lewis Bockius are advising Friendly’s.