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Ali Group’s Deal to Buy Welbilt May Include Selling One Brand

Ali Group’s deal to acquire Welbilt continues to make progress and will likely require the divestiture of one high-profile brand.

Welbilt shareholders approved the deal, with 99.72% of shares that were voted being cast in favor of the pending merger, per a Welbilt press release.

In addition, the companies report having received a second request for information from the U.S. Department of Justice that focuses on the manufacturers’ ice brands. As a result, they have agreed to divest Welbilt’s Manitowoc Ice brand and expressed confidence this step will ensure regulatory approval. They expect to complete a sale of Manitowoc Ice in early 2022. Shortly afterward, the companies anticipate they will complete Ali Group’s acquisition of Welbilt.

Ali Group already has several other ice manufacturers within its portfolio of companies. In April of 2021, Ali Group acquired Kold Draft, which manufactures ice machines that produce square cubes. Ali Group acquired Ice-o-Matic and Scotsman from private equity firm Warburg Pincus in November of 2012. Ironically, Warburg Pincus acquired Ice-o-Matic and Scotsman in May of 2009 as Manitowoc sought to gain government approval for a larger deal.

In April of 2008, Manitowoc, which then had its cranes and ice machine businesses, announced the acquisition of the Enodis Companies, which included such brands as Garland, Cleveland, Lincoln, Merrychef, Frymaster, Delfield, Kolpak, Scotsman and Ice-O-Matic. To gain governmental approval for that deal, Manitowoc was required to sell Ice-O-Matic and Scotsman — which it did to Warburg Pincus. In March of 2016, Manitowoc would spin off its foodservice business into an independent entity and change its name to Welbilt in March 2017.