Meet the billionaire saving Blue Bell ice cream from a meltdown

July 15, 2015, 7:57 PM UTC
Blue Bell Creameries Recalls All Products After Listeria Contamination
OVERLAND PARK, KS - APRIL 21: Blue Bell Ice Cream is seen on shelves of an Overland Park grocery store prior to being removed on April 21, 2015 in Overland Park, Kansas. Blue Bell Creameries recalled all products following a Listeria contamination. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Photograph by Jamie Squire — Getty Images

Blue Bell Creameries, the Texas-based ice cream maker that temporarily shut down due to a deadly listeria contamination, is getting some help thanks to a billionaire investor.

Sid Bass, a Texas investor worth an estimated $1.7 billion, has become an investor and partner with Blue Bell, which has been closed since April and hasn’t set a date for when it will begin selling ice cream once again.

“We are pleased Sid Bass has made a significant investment with our company. The additional capital will ensure the successful return of our ice cream to the market and our loyal customers,” said Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and president, in a statement.

Bass amassed his wealth through his family’s business that was started by his great-uncle, Sid Richardson, and his father, Perry Richardson Bass. He has been active in the family oil and gas and carbon black businesses, as well as managed long-term investments, most notably a large holding in the Walt Disney Company (DIS).

The scope of Bass’ Blue Bell investment wasn’t released. Blue Bell, a leading ice cream brand in the southern U.S., has been family owned for 108 years and doesn’t release financial data.

As of last week, Blue Bell said it would start test production of ice cream at its Alabama plant. It will hold the production for safety testing, and if all goes according to plan during the trial period, the company hopes to being building inventory for its return to the market.