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Ferrero Group To Acquire Wells Enterprises

Ferrero

The Ferrero Group has announced an agreement for Ferrero to acquire Le Mars, Iowa-based Wells Enterprises, its operations and its ice cream brands, which include Blue Bunny, Blue Ribbon Classics, Bomb Pop and Halo Top.

The acquisition is part of Ferrero’s strategic growth ambitions for the ice cream category and Wells’ vision for accelerated growth.

Ferrero and Wells are both family companies with confectionery and ice cream experience, quality products and a portfolio of brands.   

Ferrero, which started in 1946 as a small pastry shop in Alba, Italy, has grown to become a global leader in sweet-packaged foods, including confectionery, biscuits, ice cream and snacking. Its brands include Nutella, Kinder, Tic Tac and Ferrero Rocher. 

Wells is a large family-owned and -operated ice cream company that was founded in 1913 as a dairy delivery wagon business.

Wells Enterprises will remain a stand-alone business with its offices in Le Mars, Iowa and production operations in Le MarsHenderson, Nevada; and Dunkirk, New York. After the transaction closes, Mike Wells, member of the founding family and current CEO and chief engagement officer, will serve as an adviser to support the transition and maintain his active role in the Le Mars community. Wells President Liam Killeen will be named CEO, and the current leadership team will remain in place.

“We are a 100-year-old company focused on adapting for the next 100 years,” Wells said. “Ferrero is a likeminded 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, and I look forward to supporting the entire Wells team and Ferrero with the transition.”

Lapo Civiletti, CEO of the Ferrero Group, added: “I would like to extend a very warm welcome to everyone at Wells, a remarkable ice cream producer with a fantastic portfolio of brands that consumers love. I would like to congratulate everyone for the impressive success of the company so far and express my full confidence in the management team. I am looking forward to working with Wells as we embark on a new era together with many exciting opportunities ahead.”

The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in early 2023. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

UBS Investment Bank acted as exclusive financial advisor and McDermott Will & Emery LLP served as legal counsel to Wells. Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc acted as exclusive financial advisor and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP served as legal counsel to Ferrero.

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