cream market, which is very strategic for Nestle," said Molly Dell'Omo,
director of corporate and brand affairs for Nestle USA.
Economic analyst Jack Kyser agrees.
"What they're trying to do is solidify their hold on the premium end
of the market," said Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County
Economic Development Corp. "When you think high-end ice cream, you think
Haagen-Dazs. This is a good move for them."
Nestle and Pillsbury's Haagen-Dazs joined forces in August 1999,
combining their ice cream businesses to form Ice Cream Partners USA. But
General Mills Inc.'s recent acquisition of Pillsbury gave Nestle the
opportunity to buy out the other half of its 50-50 ice cream partnership.
Ice Cream USA, based in San Ramon, recorded sales of $700 million last
year, Nestle officials said.
Dell'Omo said the company would continue to be based in San Ramon and
that no changes in product or business administration of the frozen
dessert lines is expected.
"We see it as business as usual," Dell'Omo said.
Haagen-Dazs officials could not be reached for comment.
This is the second notable acquisition involving Nestle in the last
year. Nestle's corporate Swiss parent Nestle S.A. was given permission by
the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Dec. 11 to acquire Ralston Purina
Co. in a $10.3-billion deal.