Dean Foods Co., Dallas, Texas, agreed to acquire the manufacturing and retail ice cream business of Friendly's Ice Cream, LLC, Springfield, Mass.

With $166 million in net sales in 2015, Friendly's Ice Cream produces packaged ice cream and other frozen dessert products, including single-serve sundae cups, novelty items, cakes and rolls available in over 8,000 retail outlets.

"We are thrilled at the prospects the Friendly's Ice Cream acquisition brings to Dean Foods," says Gregg Tanner, chief executive officer, Dean Foods. "Coupled with the momentum of Dean Foods' current regional brands, the Friendly's brand will be a catalyst in our strategy to grow our existing ice cream business and branded portfolio. Friendly's is an ideal complement to our other heritage brands across the country, and fills a manufacturing and retail ice cream void in our nationwide footprint."

"We think the Friendly's culture will be an excellent fit for Dean Foods, and we are delighted to welcome the Friendly's employees into our company,” Tanner adds. “Working together with the senior leadership team of Friendly's Ice Cream, we look forward to continuing to grow the manufacturing and retail ice cream business."

"Friendly's Ice Cream strongly resonates with consumers throughout the Northeast,” he continues. “Very similar to the traditions shared by consumers who grew up enjoying our existing regional milk and ice cream brands, such as Mayfield or Dean's, we believe the Friendly's Ice Cream brand represents and promotes what Dean Foods has built itself around and is a great fit in our branded portfolio. Dean Foods is rooted in the traditional goodness of dairy, making Friendly's more than just a good business and financial opportunity."

Dean Foods will also acquire the Friendly's trademark as well as all intellectual property associated with the ice cream business. Friendly's Restaurants, a leading family-dining restaurant chain with over 260 locations in the United States, will continue to be owned and operated by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., and will license use of the Friendly's trademark under a license agreement entered into as part of the transaction.

The transaction is expected to close late in the second quarter of 2016. Following the close of the transaction, Friendly's Ice Cream will continue to operate out of its Wilbraham, Mass., facility, and the senior management team of Friendly's Ice Cream will continue to lead the business.