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Friendly’s Sells Retail Ice-cream, Manufacturing Division

WILBRAHAM — Friendly’s Ice Cream announced it has sold its retail ice-cream and manufacturing business to Texas-based Dean Foods Co. for $155 million in cash.

“We are thrilled at the prospects the Friendly’s Ice Cream acquisition brings to Dean Foods,” said Dean CEO Gregg Tanner. “Coupled with the momentum of Dean Foods’ current regional brands, the Friendly’s brand will be a catalyst in our strategy to grow our existing ice-cream business and branded portfolio. 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.”

Dean Foods is the largest processor and direct-to-store distributor of fresh fluid milk and other dairy and dairy-case products in the U.S., the company said. Friendly’s Ice Cream had $166 million in net sales of ice cream to supermarkets in 2015.

After the transaction closes late in the second quarter of 2016, Dean Foods plans to continue producing ice cream at the current Friendly’s plant in Wilbraham, which employs about 200 people.

“Friendly’s ice cream strongly resonates with consumers throughout the Northeast,” Tanner added. “Very similar to the traditions shared by consumers who grew up enjoying our existing regional milk and ice-cream brands, such as Mayfield or Dean’s, we believe the Friendly’s Ice Cream brand represents and promotes what Dean Foods has built itself around and is a great fit in our branded portfolio. Dean Foods is rooted in the traditional goodness of dairy, making Friendly’s more than just a good business and financial opportunity.”

Added Friendly’s President and CEO John Maguire, “today marks a new chapter for Friendly’s retail and manufacturing ice-cream business. 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, which boasts 260 locations in the U.S., will continue to be owned and operated by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc. and will license use of the Friendly’s trademark to Dean’s under a license agreement entered into as part of the transaction.

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