Nestlé USA and General Mills announced an agreement whereby Nestlé has acquired General Mills’ fifty percent ownership stake in Ice Cream Partners USA. Under the terms of the agreement, Nestlé will have a long-term (99-year), paid in full license for use of the Häagen-Dazs brand in the United States in connection with frozen dessert products. In addition, Nestlé bought out the existing licensing arrangement with Pillsbury under which Nestlé manufactures and distributes Häagen-Dazs products in Canada. Nestlé paid $641 million to General Mills in the transaction.
Ice Cream Partners USA was formed in August, 1999 and combined Pillsbury’s Häagen-Dazs frozen desserts with Nestlé’s novelty ice cream business. Sales for 2000 are approximately $700 million. General Mills’ acquisition of Pillsbury triggered a change of control provision in the joint venture agreement, allowing Nestlé to purchase the other 50 percent of the U.S. venture. General Mills will continue to own and operate the Häagen-Dazs business outside of the U.S. and Canada.
Ice Cream Partners USA will continue to be based in San Ramon, Calif. James Dintaman, Chief Executive Officer, Ice Cream Partners USA, says, "Exercising our option to take full ownership of the joint venture will enable us to continue to grow in this very strategic business." Dintaman will continue to head up Ice Cream Partners USA. He added, "Nestlé is committed to providing consumers with innovative and delicious new ice cream products."