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Wells’ Dairy to sell milk plant to Dean Foods

Associated Press

LE MARS, Iowa — Wells’ Dairy Inc. will sell its milk plant here to Dallas-based Dean Foods Co., the Iowa company announced Thursday night.

Wells’ Dairy, maker of Blue Bunny ice cream and yogurt products, is also considering selling its yogurt plant in Omaha, Neb., so it can concentrate on producing its ice cream and frozen novelties, said Wells’ CEO Mike Wells.

Terms of the sale to Dean Foods were not disclosed.

"This committed focus puts us in the best position to reach our goal to become a top three national brand in ice cream and frozen novelties," Wells said.

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Dean, a publicly traded company, is the largest U.S. processor and distributor of milk and other dairy products. Wells’ Dairy is a family owned company.

Wells’ spokesman Dave Smetter said Dean plans to continue to operate the Le Mars milk plant, which has about 180 workers. He said finances did not play a role in the decision to sell the milk business.

"We’re in very sound financial condition," he said. "This is very much a strategic decision."

Smetter said the sale of the fluid dairy and cultured dairy business also could affect as many as 15 corporate jobs at Wells’ new $26 million headquarters on the south end of town.

Wells’ Dairy also operates two ice cream plants in Le Mars that employ more than 2,000.

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