Friendly’s Ice Cream, LLC announced today the sale of its Retail Ice Cream and Manufacturing business to Dallas, Texas-based Dean Foods Company, a leading food and beverage company and the largest processor and direct-to-store distributor of fresh fluid milk and other dairy and dairy case products in the United States.
Dean Foods Company will continue to produce Friendly’s ice cream out of the facility in Wilbraham, Massachusetts that for over 45 years has produced Friendly’s popular packaged ice cream, frozen dessert products, including single-serve sundae cups, cakes and rolls, along with ice cream for Friendly’s restaurants. Friendly’s Ice Cream, one of the best loved ice cream brands in the Northeast, distributes products in over 8,000 retail locations across the United States, and has seen 105% growth in the retail business over the past five years.
“Today marks a new chapter for Friendly’s retail and manufacturing ice cream business,” said Friendly’s President and CEO John Maguire. “Dean Foods Company has recognized the growth momentum that Friendly’s retail ice cream has experienced over the last five years and I am thrilled that Dean Foods will be the ongoing steward of the retail ice cream business, led by the current experienced retail and creamery teams.”
Friendly’s restaurants, a leading ice cream-centric restaurant chain with over 260 locations in the United States, will continue to be owned by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, Inc. Friendly’s existing senior restaurant management team will continue to lead the restaurant business.
Maguire noted, “The restaurants have experienced tremendous growth in sales and guest traffic over the last 15 months; a direct result of the introduction of new and exciting menu items, extensive renovations to existing locations, compelling value propositions and the addition of drive-thru windows. Friendly’s restaurants are poised for continued market share growth.”
Friendly’s Ice Cream, which was started in 1935 in Springfield, Massachusetts by brothers Curtis and Prestley Blake at the height of the Great Depression, has enjoyed 81 years as a leader in the ice cream industry and looks forward to continuing to serve guests delicious food and great Friendly’s ice cream in its restaurants for years to come.
Lazard Middle Market served as financial advisor to Friendly’s Ice Cream on the transaction, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius was the company’s legal advisor. Rothschild Inc acted as financial advisor to Dean Foods on the transaction, and Gibson Dunn provided legal support to Dean Foods.
May 9, 2016