Friendly’s Ice Cream, LLC announced Monday that it has finalized the sale of its Retail Ice Cream and Manufacturing business from an affiliate of Friendly’s Ice Cream, LLC 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 U.S., for the amount of $155 million in cash.
As of Monday, the restaurant organization will continue as FIC Restaurants, Inc., as it operates and franchises over 260 Friendly’s restaurants offering signature ice cream sundaes and other treats in the eastern U.S. FIC Restaurants, Inc. is owned by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, Inc., and the existing senior restaurant management team will continue to lead the Friendly’s restaurant business.
“This agreement is the result of 105 percent growth of our retail business over the past five years, as well as the successful repositioning of our restaurant business,” says John Maguire, CEO of FIC Restaurants. “Dean Foods possesses the growth capabilities and expertise to take the Friendly’s retail ice cream business to the next level of its meteoric rise.”
Led by its current experienced retail and creamery teams, the Friendly’s Ice Cream business, under the ownership of Dean Foods Company, will continue to operate out of the facility in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, that for over 45 years has produced Friendly’s popular packaged ice cream and frozen dessert products, including single-serve sundae cups, cakes and rolls, along with ice cream for Friendly’s restaurants.
“Friendly’s 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, compelling value propositions, the addition of drive-thru windows and extensive renovations to existing locations,” notes Maguire. Friendly’s restaurants are poised for continued market share growth with the transaction allowing Friendly’s restaurant management team to continue to focus on maintaining growth momentum in new and existing markets.
Founded in 1935 in Springfield, Massachusetts, Friendly’s Ice Cream was created by brothers Curtis and Prestley Blake at the height of the Great Depression, and has since enjoyed 81 years as America’s beloved ice cream brand. Today, Friendly’s restaurants continue to serve guests the same high-quality, great tasting ice cream and ice cream treats they’ve come to know and love in a bright and friendly atmosphere.
Lazard Middle Market served as financial advisor to Friendly’s Ice Cream on the transaction, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius was the company’s legal adviser.