USA – Italian confectionery giant Ferrero has struck a deal to buy Iowa-based ice cream maker Wells Enterprises to enhance its chances of successfully taking on competitors in the US market.
The Ferrero Group has its strengths in branded chocolate and confectionery products producing some of the world’s leading brands in the sector including Kinder and Nutella.
The group is in dairy, and specifically ice cream where it does not have a strong presence and would need the support of already established brands such as Wells Enterprises.
Based in Iowa, USA, Wells Enterprise manufactures and sells ice cream under brands including Blue Bunny, Bomb Pop, and Halo Top.
The acquisition, for undisclosed terms, plays well into Ferrero’s strategy for growth into the ice cream category while providing Wells with an opportunity for accelerated growth.
Executive chairman Giovanni Ferrero said: “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.”
Once the deal closes, Mike Wells, current CEO of Wells Enterprises will stay on as an advisor to support the transition while Liam Killeen, the president of Wells will become CEO with the existing leadership team remaining in place.
In a joint statement, the companies reported that Wells will “remain a stand-alone business” retaining production operations in their offices in Le Mars, Iowa, Henderson, Nevada as well as in Dunkirk, New York.
“We are a 100-year-old company focused on adapting for the next 100 years. 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.” Said Mike Wells.
Wells, whose acquisition is expected to be finalized in early 2023, is a continuation of other previous acquisitions made by Ferrero to bolster its Ice cream business.
In 2017, Ferrero and Unilever, the world’s largest ice cream maker, formed a joint venture into the European market and manufactured a range of kinder-branded products.
Ferrero then acquired a controlling stake in Ice Cream Factory Comaker (ICFC), a Spain-based ice cream manufacturer, for an undisclosed sum in 2019.
With the addition of Wells which is currently the second largest ice cream maker in the United States behind Unilever, Ferrero has most certainly upped its chances of winning in the US ice cream market.