Ferrero acquires US ice cream company

Ferrero acquires ice-cream maker Wells

Business News

Italy’s chocolate and sweet maker Ferrero announced on 7th December it is buying US ice cream giant Wells Enterprises.

The Ferrero Group and Wells Enterprises announced an agreement for Ferrero to acquire Wells, its operations and its strong ice cream brands. These include Blue Bunny©, Blue Ribbon Classics©, Bomb Pop© and Halo Top©.

The acquisition is part of Ferrero’s strategic growth ambitions for the ice cream category and Wells’ vision for accelerated growth.

Family companies with strong portfolios

Ferrero and Wells are both family companies with proud heritage and a strong portfolio of well-loved brands.

Ferrero started in 1946 as a small pastry shop in Alba, near Turin. It grew to become a global leader in sweet-packaged foods. Its brands include Nutella©, Kinder©, Tic Tac© and Ferrero Rocher©.

Wells is the world’s largest family owned and managed ice cream company. Founded in 1913, it was orginally a dairy delivery wagon business. Wells Enterprises will remain a stand-alone business with its offices in Le Mars, Iowa and production operations in Le Mars; Henderson, Nevada; and Dunkirk, New York.

Mike Wells, member of the founding family and current CEO, will serve as an adviser to support the transition. Current Wells President Liam Killeen will become Chief Executive Officer, and the existing leadership team will remain in place.

“We are a 100-year-old company focused on adapting for the next 100 years,” said Mike Wells. “Ferrero is a like-minded company with a commitment to providing high-quality, premium sweet-packaged food products that bring joy to consumers around the world. This acquisition puts the business in the best possible hands, and I look forward to supporting the entire Wells team and Ferrero with the transition.”

“This is an exciting day that accelerates growth and ensures a bright future for our company and everyone associated with it,” said Liam Killeen. “Ferrero’s brands and reputation for world-class quality are a perfect match with what has made Wells so successful – and we will be even better together going forward.”

Ferrero expansion into north America

This deal continues the Ferrero Group’s expansion agenda in North America. It follows on from the successfully managed acquisitions of Fannie May (2017), former Nestlé U.S. confectionery business and Kellogg company’s cookies and fruit snacks businesses (2018).

“I am delighted that Wells has agreed to join the Ferrero Group. This represents a win-win partnership, bringing together ice cream experts and confectionery champions. Together, we have the power of one and are well placed to grow and compete in the ice cream market,” said Giovanni Ferrero, Executive Chairman of the Ferrero Group.

“As Wells transitions from one family to another, we are committed to a long and successful future, building on their legacy of fantastic products and looking after the welfare of employees and the wider community in Le Mars,” Giovanni Ferrero continued. “I strongly believe that Wells and Ferrero are the perfect match. And I would like to thank Mike Wells and the Wells family for entrusting ownership of this great company to us.”

Lapo Civiletti, Chief Executive Officer of the Ferrero Group, added: “I would like to extend a very warm welcome to everyone at Wells, a remarkable ice cream producer with a fantastic portfolio of brands that consumers love. I would like to congratulate everyone for the impressive success of the company so far and express my full confidence in the management team. I am looking forward to working with Wells as we embark on a new era together with many exciting opportunities ahead.”

The transaction, the terms of which have not been disclosed, should close in early 2023.

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