Swiss food giant Nestlé has gained full ownership of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream and announced it now has a dominating 17.5% market share in the ice cream business.

The deal was completed yesterday (18 January) when Nestlé Ice took full control of Dreyer’s, seizing the biggest market share in global ice cream sales, for the first time in its history. It overtakes ice cream giant Unilever, which owns the Wall’s and Ben & Jerry’s brands.

The merger of Nestlé Ice with Dreyer’s, in 2003, resulted in Nestlé owning 67% of the combined company. On Friday (13 January) Dreyer’s ended its put period, having offered cash payment of US$83.10 per Class A Share during this time.

Following the put period, Nestlé Ice became owner of in excess of 90% of Dreyer’s outstanding voting stock.

Nestlé’s 17.5% global market share announcement takes into account the proposed acquisition of Delta Ice Cream, in Greece. The company has gained market share in the US throughout 2005 to reach 23.2%, according to ACNielsen data.

Nestlé chairman and CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe said: “Wednesday’s events in the US are the culmination of a long-standing strategy to achieve leadership in the world’s largest ice cream market. I am also very pleased with market share performance in other markets which, coupled with Dreyer’s success, has brought Nestlé to the global leadership position for the first time. “