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Ferrero acquires the American ice cream giant Wells

The strategic growth of the Italian group continues in the ice cream category

TheItalian Ferrero Group has announced the acquisition of American ice cream giant Wells Enterprises and its renowned ice cream brands, which include Blue Bunny, Blue Ribbon Classics, Bomb Pop and Halo Top. The acquisition is part of Ferrero's strategic growth in the ice cream category and Wells' vision to drive rapid growth. 

Wells - with 4 factories, over $1 billion in 2021 revenues and 4,000 employees - has grown into the world's largest family-owned ice cream company since it was founded as a dairy delivery company in 1913 . A statement explains that it "will remain a standalone company with its offices in Le Mars, Iowa, and manufacturing operations in Le Mars, Iowa, Henderson, Nevada, and Dunkirk, New York." 

Following the closing of the transaction, expected in early 2023, Mike Wells, a founding family member and current CEO and Chief Engagement Officer, will serve as an advisor to support the transition and maintain his active role in the Le Mars community. Liam Killeen, current Chairman of Wells, will be appointed Chief Executive Officer and the existing leadership team will remain in place.

“I am delighted that Wells has agreed to join the Ferrero Group. It is a winning partnership, bringing together ice cream experts and confectionary industry champions. Together, to unite the power of being one, well positioned to grow and compete in the ice cream market,” said Giovanni Ferrero, Executive Chairman of the Ferrero Group. “As Wells passes from one family to another, we are committed to a long and successful future, building on their legacy of amazing products, caring for the well-being of employees and the Le Mars community,” continued Giovanni Ferrero . "I strongly believe that Wells and Ferrero are a perfect match and I would like to thank Mike Wells and the Wells family for entrusting us with ownership of this great company."

Lapo Civiletti, CEO of the Ferrero Group, added: "I would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone who works at Wells, an extraordinary ice cream maker with a fantastic portfolio of brands that are loved by consumers. I would like to congratulate everyone on their impressive success achieved so far by the company and express my full confidence in the management team".

For his part, Mike Wells said, "We're a 100-year-old company, focused on adapting for the next 100 years," said Mike Wells. “Ferrero is a like-minded company with a strong commitment to providing high-quality confectionery products that bring joy to consumers around the world. This acquisition puts the company in the best possible hands and I look forward to supporting the entire Wells and Ferrero team in the transition". 

"This is an exciting day that accelerates our growth and secures a bright future for our company and everyone associated with it," concluded Liam Killeen. “Ferrero's brands and reputation for world-class quality are a perfect match for what has made Wells so successful – and together we will become even better in the future.”

"This transaction - explains a note from Ferrero - consolidates the Ferrero Group's expansion program in North America following the successfully managed acquisitions of Fannie May (2017), Nestlé's former confectionary business in the US and the biscuit and snack business Kellogg's Fruit Company (2018).The expansion of the North American footprint was further strengthened through the subsidiaries, with the acquisition of Ferrara Candy Company (2017) - manufacturer and US market leader of candy with its brands Nerds, Trolli, Sweet-Tarts and Black Forest".

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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EFA News - European Food Agency