Struggling CoolBrands International sold off more of itsfrozen treat empireas Dreyer'sbought itspopular Eskimo Pie and Chipwich brands, the company said Wednesday.
TheMarkham, Ont.-based company sold the two brandsand its Real Fruit trademark to Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream for $18.9 million US. Dreyer's is a subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestlé.
Some of the proceeds of the sale were used to repay a $5-million US debt to JP Morgan Chase. The rest will be used for "working capital purposes," the company said.
CoolBrands began asYogen Fruz in the 1980s. Its founders — brothers Aaron and Michael Serruya — built itinto thethird-largest ice cream maker in North America.
It changed its name in 2000, when it merged with Eskimo Pie Corp.
CoolBrands bought the Chipwich brand in 2002from a New York company.
But things started to unravel in 2004, when the company lost the licensing rights for frozen products under the Weight Watchers and Smart Ones brands. The low-carb craze didn't help, either.
Last year, its shares plunged to penny stock territory after itbreached a covenant in its credit agreement with JP Morgan.
CoolBrands hasn't filed quarterly financial reports since July, when it reported a nine-month loss of $24.2 million on sales of $258.1 million.
Three weeks ago, it exited the yogurt business when it sold its dairy subsidiary toa U.S. private equity firm for $50 million US. It said at the time thatit was eyeing the possible sale ofsome of its ice cream assets, its food services division, and its real estate holdings.