Dean Foods Buys Ice Cream And Intellectual Property From Friendly’s, Will License Back Trademark To Restaurants

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

You may remember that ice cream parlor and restaurant chain Friendly’s filed for bankruptcy back in 2011. Since then, the chain closed some restaurants and kept going. Now the nation’s largest dairy distributor, Dean Foods, wandered past the remaining business that Friendly’s has, and likes what it sees in the ice cream case. It’s acquiring the retail and ice cream making parts of the business, but not the chain of restaurants.

There are still 260 Friendly’s restaurants left, if you were wondering. Dean Foods will buy the Friendly’s trademark and intellectual property as part of the transaction, and will lease the trademark for the restaurants back to the company affiliated with Sun Capital Partners that runs the restaurants. Presumably, they will also supply the restaurants with large quantities of Friendly’s brand ice cream.

Dean Foods has acquired dozens of dairy brands across the country and has united them under one brand to rule them all, and used to be the supplier to Walmart for its store-brand milk, but the mega-retailer has decided to open its own processing facilities and handle that itself. Dean mostly deals in commodity milk, and has been trying to differentiate its products by creating brands like flavored TruMoo milks, and the DairyPure brand. The problem, however, is that most milk-drinkers seek out and buy just… milk.

Dean Scoops Up Friendly’s Ice-Cream Assets for $155 Million [Bloomberg]

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