Staten Island Advance;
Monday, June 11, 1984
By Wendy Diller
Sedutto Ice Cream Corp., the Staten Island-based specialty ice cream maker, has been sold to the giant Pillsbury Corp. for approximately $10 million.
Anthony “Jack” Sedutto, a co-owner and president of the family-owned business, said that the deal was consummated Friday and took effect the same day, after four or five months of discussion. Sedutto, which had $5.6 million in sales last year, is the country’s largest manufacturer of spumoni and bisque tortoni.
About 80 percent of Sedutto’s products are sold to institutional customers such as restaurants and airlines, Sedutto said. Spumoni sales account for 35 percent of its business.
Sedutto also has 20 retail outlets in Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, in addition to its three Island stores--at its Port Richmond factory, in the Pathmark shopping center, Port Richmond, and on New Dorp Lane, New Dorp. But the company’s attempts to expand its retail business by opening franchises in Florida, California, Texas, and other parts of the country have been hampered by a lack of a distribution network.
On the other hand, last July, Pillsbury, the Minneapolis-based food conglomerate, bought Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream, a manufacturer and retailer with and extensive delivery system.
“We’re delighted. It’s a good deal,” said Sedutto, who will work with Pillsbury as a consultant. “We are franchising nationwide and we were held back by distribution problems. This has made our lives much easier.”
Also, Haagen-Dazs will use Sedutto specialties to broaden its product line. “They’re very similar, good products,” Sedutto said.
The agreement stipulates that Sedutto and his brother, William, currently executive vice president, will leave their posts to become consultants to Pillsbury’s Ice Cream division. Jack’s son, Anthony Jr., now in charge of the company’s marketing and product development, and William’s son, Joseph, who manages the plant and production operations, will run the company from its Port Richmond headquarters.
The ice cream manufacturer has had a 15 to 20 percent sales growth rate in recent years, and Pillsbury is planning fro an increase of up to 30 to 50 percent this year, Sedutto said.
Pillsbury will probably concentrate on expanding the company’s institutional market, although as a family-owned business, Sedutto intended to increase both its retail and institutional customer base, he said.
Under an expansion plan begun in 1979, the ice cream maker bought machinery that doubled its production capacity.
Among the new products Sedutto is planning to introduce this fall is an individual-sized portion of spumoni for restaurants.
This is not the first time a major corporation has bought Sedutto. In 1971 Consolidated Foods took over the company from the family. Following the sale, Michael and Mario, two of the four brothers who ran Sedutto, retired. But, Jack and William continued to manage the business under the Sara Lee division of Consolidated Foods. Michael Sedutto died last month.
Eight years later, however, the family bought back Sedutto, after Consolidated decided it didn’t want to expand the ice cream maker nationally.
To help the family pay for the $1.5 million deal, the New York City Industrial Development Agency (IDA), which issues tax-exempt industrial bonds to promote local economic development, sold an $800,000 bond to Chase Manhattan Bank.
Sedutto was started more than 60 years ago by Joseph Sedutto, father of the four brothers, in his Mariners Harbor backyard.
Pillsbury, which initiated the negotiations, also owns Burger King.
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