The Ferrero Group and Wells Enterprises have reached an agreement for Ferrero to acquire Wells, 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 extensive confectionery and ice cream experience.
Starting in 1946 as a small pastry shop in Alba, Italy, Ferrero has 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, IA and production operations in Le Mars; Henderson, NV; and Dunkirk, NY. 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.
“We are a 100-year-old company focused on adapting for the next 100 years,” said Wells. “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.”
“This is an exciting day that accelerates growth and ensures a bright future for our company and everyone associated with it,” said Killeen. “Ferrero’s brands and reputation for world-class quality are a perfect match with what has made Wells so successful – and we will be even better together going forward.”