Friendly’s sells its ice cream manufacturing business

The Friendly’s restaurant chain has sold its ice cream manufacturing and retail business to Dean Foods Co. for $155 million.

Dallas-based Dean announced Monday that it will continue to manufacture ice cream and novelty ice cream products in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.

There are more than 260 Friendly’s restaurants. They will continue to be owned by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc. with no management changes.

Friendly’s ice cream is distributed to more than 8,000 supermarkets and retailers across the U.S. and has seen 105 percent growth in retail business in the past five years.

Friendly’s ice cream was manufactured in Troy north of Dayton until 1998 when the company closed that facility and moved its production to York, Penn.

The transaction is expected to close late in the second quarter, subject to regulatory approvals.

Friendly’s was founded in 1935 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Dean Foods is the nation’s largest direct-to-store distributor of milk and other dairy products.

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