Dean Foods has announced the acquisition of US-based Friendly’s Ice Cream’s manufacturing and retail operations in a US$155m deal.

Friendly’s Ice Cream is an affiliate of Friendly’s restaurants – an ice cream and dining brand in the US. It has been owned by private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners since 2007.

Friendly’s produces packaged ice cream and other frozen dessert products including single-serve sundae cups, novelty items, cakes and rolls. Its products are distributed in supermarkets across the US. In a statement, Friendly’s said it had seen 105% growth in the retail business over the past five years.

In addition to acquiring Friendly’s manufacturing and retail ice cream business, Dean Foods will acquire the Friendly’s trademark as well as all intellectual property associated with the ice cream business. Friendly’s Restaurants will continue to be owned and operated by an affiliate of Sun Capital. 

“Today marks a new chapter for Friendly’s retail and manufacturing ice cream business,” said Friendly’s president and CEO John Maguire. “Dean Foods has recognised 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.”

The acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive to margins and earnings, and Dean Foods expects it will add approximately $0.06 earnings per share accretion in 2016. 

“We are thrilled at the prospects the Friendly’s Ice Cream acquisition brings to Dean Foods,” said Gregg Tanner, Dean Foods’ CEO. “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.

“We think the Friendly’s culture will be an excellent fit for Dean Foods, and we are delighted to welcome the Friendly’s employees into our company. Working together with the senior leadership team of Friendly’s Ice Cream, we look forward to continuing to grow the manufacturing and retail ice cream business.”