Nestle scoops U.S. ice cream deal
ZURICH, Switzerland -- Nestle, the world's biggest food company, plans to merge its U.S. ice cream business with Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, boosting its stake in the U.S. group to 67 percent, the companies said on Monday.
Nestle already has a 23 percent stake in Dreyer's, which has a market value of about $1.5 billion. Dreyer's will offer to buy out minority shareholders at $83 per share in 2006 and then has an option to sell them to Nestle for $88 each a year later.
The deal would put Nestle level with Unilever as the world's biggest seller of ice cream by value of sales, the company said in a statement. Switzerland-based Nestle bought the Haagen-Dazs brand in the United States for $641 million in December.
Nestle's U.S. brands include Haagen-Dazs, Drumstick, Nestle Crunch and Butterfinger.
Dreyer's sells ice cream under the Dreyer's brand name in 14 western states in the United States and parts of Asia, and under the Edy's brand name elsewhere in the United States. It also sells under the Dreamery, Starbucks and Godiva brands.
Nestle said the Dreyer's takeover should generate $170 million in annual savings by 2005. Dreyer's stock will continue to trade on Nasdaq.
"After the Haagen-Dazs and Schoeller acquisitions, Nestle now proposes an innovative deal with no immediate cash outlay that will allow us to significantly grow sales and the performance of our ice cream business in the world's highest per capita consumption market,'' Chief Executive Peter Brabeck said.
Dreyer's had 2001 sales of $1.40 billion and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $60 million.
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