The Ferrero Group (Ferrero) and Wells Enterprises (Wells) announced an agreement for Ferrero to acquire Wells, its operations and its strong 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 extensive confectionery and ice cream experience, quality products, proud heritage and a strong portfolio of well-loved 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 better-for-you-snacking. Its brands include Nutella®, Kinder®, Tic Tac® and Ferrero Rocher®.
Wells has become the world's largest family owned and managed ice cream company since it 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 Mars; Henderson, Nevada; and Dunkirk, New York. After the transaction closes, Mike Wells, member of the founding family and current chief executive officer and chief engagement officer, will serve as an adviser to support the transition and maintain his active role in the Le Mars community. Current Wells President Liam Killeen will be named chief executive officer, and the existing leadership team will remain in place.
This deal continues the Ferrero Group's expansion agenda in North America following the successfully managed acquisitions of Fannie May (2017), former Nestlé US confectionery business and Kellogg company's cookies and fruit snacks businesses (2018). Ferrero's North American footprint expansion has been further strengthened through its related parties, with the acquisition of Ferrara Candy Company (2017) - manufacturer and U.S. candy market category leader of well-loved brands Nerds, Trolli, Sweet-tarts and Black Forest. The company has also expanded its capabilities in the region, with a new Innovation Center and R&D Lab in Chicago, as well as two major expansions to its Bloomington, Illinois plant. The strong growth means Ferrero and its related parties now count more than 8,000 employees, 9 offices and 18 plants in North America.