Dean Foods buys Friendly’s ice cream-making business

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The Friendly’s restaurant chain has sold its ice cream manufacturing and retail business to Dean Foods Co. for $155 million. | Dean Foods

WILBRAHAM, Mass. — The Friendly’s restaurant chain has sold its ice cream manufacturing and retail business to Dean Foods Co. for $155 million.

Dallas-based Dean announced it will continue to manufacture ice cream and novelty ice cream products in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.

There are more than 260 Friendly’s restaurants. They will continue to be owned by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc. with no management changes.

Friendly’s ice cream is distributed to more than 8,000 supermarkets and retailers across the U.S. and has seen 105 percent growth in retail business in the past five years.

The transaction is expected to close late in the second quarter, subject to regulatory approvals.

Friendly’s was founded in 1935 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Dean Foods is the nation’s largest direct-to-store distributor of milk and other dairy products.

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