LE MARS, Iowa (KCAU) — Wells Enterprises is being acquired by the Ferrero Group, the Le Mars ice cream maker announced Wednesday.

Ferrero distributes sweet-packaged foods globally, including brands like Nutella, Kinder, Tic Tac, and Ferrero Rocher.

The release states that Wells Enterprises will remain a stand-alone business with all their locations remaining as well. Wells is well known for its ice cream brands, including Blue Bunny, Blue Ribbon Classics, Bomb Pop and Halo Top.

After the transaction closes, current CEO and chief engagement officer Mike Wells will serve as an adviser during the transition, while current Wells President Liam Killeen will be named the new Chief Executive Officer. All other existing leadership will remain in place.

Killeen said that the acquisition will help Wells grow and “ensures a bright future.”

“Ferrero’s brands and reputation for world-class quality are a perfect match with what has made Wells so successful – and we will be even better together going forward,” Killeen added.

Mike Wells repeated the sentiment, saying Ferrero and Wells are similar, with the Wells company being 100 years old and focused to adapt for the next 100 years.

“Ferrero is a like-minded company with a commitment to providing high-quality, premium sweet-packaged food products that bring joy to consumers around the world. This acquisition puts the business in the best possible hands, and I look forward to supporting the entire Wells team and Ferrero with the transition.”

Ferrero started in 1946 as a small pastry shop in Alba, Italy and has been expanding into North America after acquiring Fannie May, the former Nestlé U.S. confectionery business, in 2017. They also acquired Kellogg company’s cookies and fruit snacks businesses in 2018. Ferrero also acquired the Ferrara Candy Company in 2017, which manufactures the Nerds, Trolli, Sweet-tarts and Black Forest brands. Ferrero has more than 8,000 employees, 9 offices and 18 plants in North America, the release states.

Giovanni Ferrero, executive chairman of the Ferrero Group, said they are delighted to have Wells join the Ferrero Group.

“As Wells transitions from one family to another, we are committed to a long and successful future, building on their legacy of fantastic products and looking after the welfare of employees and the wider community in Le Mars,” Giovanni Ferrero continued. “I strongly believe that Wells and Ferrero are the perfect match and would like to thank Mike Wells and the Wells family for entrusting ownership of this great company to us.”

The transaction is expected to close in early 2023.