The company that operates Friendly’s restaurants is Friendly’s no more.
The Massachusetts-based casual-dining chain said on Monday that it has finalized a deal to sell its retail ice cream and manufacturing business to Dallas-based Dean Foods company for $155 million in cash.
As part of the deal, Dean Foods is acquiring the Friendly’s trademark along with any intellectual property associated with the ice cream business.
The organization that runs Friendly’s Restaurants, which operates and franchises more than 260 locations in the US, will now be named FIC Restaurants Inc. FIC will use the Friendly’s trademark under a license and supply agreement with Dean Foods that is part of the transaction.
“The 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,” John Maguire, CEO of FIC, said in a statement. “Dean Foods possesses the growth capabilities and expertise to take Friendly’s retail ice cream to the next level of its meteoric rise.”
Dean Foods will operate the Friendly’s Ice Cream business out of a manufacturing facility in Wilbraham, Mass., that has produced Friendly’s packaged ice cream and frozen desserts for the past 45 years.
That business generated $166 million in net sales last year. Friendly’s Ice Cream is distributed in more than 8,000 retail outlets. It will add to Dean Foods already sizable ice cream business, which generated nearly $1 billion in sales last year.
“The addition of Friendly’s to the Dean Foods family boosts our already-strong position in the ice cream category,” Dean Foods CEO Gregg Tanner said in a statement. “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.”
Curtis and Prestley Blake founded Friendly’s in 1935 in Massachusetts. The company had systemwide sales of more than $320 million last year.