Nestlé’s latest deal should help it milk the softening ice-cream business for private-equity style returns, perhaps ahead of a potential initial public offering in a few years’ time.

The world’s largest food company said late Wednesday that it is selling U.S. brands including Häagen-Dazs and Drumstick to Froneri, a joint venture it created in 2016 with private equity company PAI Partners to manage its European ice cream assets.

The…

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