Nestlé has reached an agreement to sell its U.S. ice cream business to Froneri, an ice cream-focused joint venture Nestlé created in 2016 with private-equity firm PAI Partners, for $4 billion, the companies said. The deal gives Froneri a strong presence in the largest ice cream market in the world.
Nestlé produces ice cream brands such as Dreyer’s, Häagen-Dazs, Outshine, Skinny Cow, Edy’s, and Drumstick.
Froneri currently manages Nestlé’s European ice cream business as well as operations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The company recently acquired ice cream company TipTop in New Zealand and Nestlé’s ice cream business in Israel.
“The creation of Froneri has been a phenomenal success,” Nestlé chief executive officer Mark Schneider said in a statement. “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.”
Nestlé said it would continue to manage its remaining ice cream businesses in Canada, Latin America, and Asia as part of its current market structure.
According to the International Dairy Foods Association, ice cream sales in America are an $11 billion industry, with Americans eating more than 23 pounds per year on average.
Under Schneider, who became CEO at Nestlé in 2017, the company has been focused on premium products in high-growth categories.
Earlier this year it agreed to sell its skin heath business to a consortium led by EQT Partners for more than $10 billion. It also hired bankers to explore a sale of its Herta packaged meats business.
Nestlé USA said it had $18 billion in turnover in 2018.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.