VEVEY, Switzerland — Nestlé announced Wednesday that it has reached an agreement to sell its US ice cream business to Froneri, an ice cream-focused joint venture Nestlé created in 2016 with PAI Partners, for a transaction value of $4 billion.
In 2016, Nestlé and PAI Partners merged Nestlé's European ice cream business in 20 countries and PAI-owned R&R to create Froneri, one of the world's largest ice cream companies. Froneri has been able to achieve rapid sales and profit growth, steadily gaining market share and reaching a turnover of around CHF 2.9 billion in 2018.
Froneri, which already had operations in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia-Pacific, will now have a strong presence in the US, the largest ice cream market in the world. The recent acquisitions of TipTop in New Zealand and Nestlé's ice cream business in Israel have also increased Froneri's growing global footprint.
Nestlé USA's successful ice cream business comes with a high-caliber management team, marketing, manufacturing and sales/distribution capabilities. In 2018, turnover was $1.8 billion. With brands like Häagen-Dazs, Drumstick and Outshine, the business commands leadership in key ice cream categories, notably super premium.
Commenting on the transaction, Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO, said: "The creation of Froneri has been a phenomenal success. We are now making this business our global strategic partner in ice cream and are convinced that Froneri's successful business model can be extended to the U.S. market. With this transaction, we are taking a decisive step towards our goal of achieving global leadership in ice cream."
Ibrahim Najafi, Froneri CEO, said: "This is another milestone acquisition for Froneri as we drive towards becoming the world's best ice cream company. We're delighted to be bringing such well-loved U.S. brands into the Froneri family. The acquisition is testament to the strength and longevity of our relationship with Nestlé. This partnership and the continued support of PAI Partners will be essential to ensuring we continue to delight consumers with innovative, high quality products in all markets."
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020, following the completion of customary regulatory approvals. Nestlé will continue to manage its remaining ice cream businesses in Canada, Latin America and Asia as part of its current market structure.