Dean Foods Co., Dallas, will purchase Parmalat USA Corp's Milk Products of Alabama LLC unit for $21.6 million in cash. Dean outbid rival National Dairy Holdings LP, last month and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan has approved the sale according to reports. At press time, the transaction is set to close by the end of September 2004. Parmalat USA, the Wallington NJ-based unit of financially troubled Italian grocery giant Parmalat Finanziarla SPA, intends to reorganize around its Farmland Dairies LLC division and its New York and New Jersey assets.

Balancing the state budget in Illinois can be a precarious challenge, and the state's governor has come up with a refreshing idea for generating revenue. Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration is considering selling, to a yet-unchosen beverage company, the rights to Illinois' name, something no other state has ever done. The selling of an "official beverage" designation has become a popular way to raise money in some school districts and cities in the U.S.

Bravo! Foods International, a Florida-based company that manufactures, promotes and distributes vitamin-fortified flavored milks, has signed a licensing agreement with Masterfoods USA, the confectionery and snack food division of Mars, Incorporated, to produce, market and sell Milky Way®, Starburst® and 3 Musketeers® single-serve, fortified milk products under the Company's Slammers® brand.

Hamburger chain Wendy's International, Inc. says milk sales have risen fifteen-fold since July-to more than a million units a week up from 65,000. Similarly, McDonald's Corp., reports that milk sales since May have doubled. The sales increases are mainly attributed to new 8-oz plastic milk bottles and the promotion of the beverage as a choice for kids' meals.

Oberweis Dairy, North Aurora, Ill., is offering up to 500 franchise retail shops in a seven-state area, and hopes to have as many as 175 company-owned and franchise stores within two years. The first targets will be Milwaukee and Indianapolis, where it already offers home delivery of its milk products. Other expansion targets include Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Detroit, and it says that home delivery services may also be extended.

Cold Stone Creamery, the fastest growing ice cream franchise in the nation, has plans for expanding franchise operations in the state of Michigan. The company currently has 16 stores open across the state and currently has 18 in development. Sixty additional Michigan stores are projected to open in the next three to five years