Sources said Froneri and Fonterra both entered the exclusive talks in full hope of signing a deal. It is understood the documents were being finalised across the weekend and the bidder already has fully committed funding facilities lined up for the purchase.
It means that barring any late twists, Tip Top will join the Froneri business which is the second largest ice cream company in the world and in markets including Australia, Europe, theMiddle East, Argentina, Brazil, the Philippines and South Africa. Consumer brands giant Unilever, which owns the Streets Ice Cream brand in Australia, is the biggest.
Rothschild & Co and Minter Ellison advised Froneri, while First NZ and Chapman Tripp are working for Tip Top and its parent Fonterra.
It is understood the private equity-backed Froneri outbid a host of local buyout firms to secure the asset, including Pacific Equity Partners, BGH Capital and Mercury Capital.
Fonterra is said to be happy with the $NZ375 million-odd price, and it is now a matter of lawyers finalising the technical points.
An information memorandum sent to prospective acquirers earlier in the process put Tip Top’s net sales at about $NZ150 million this year, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation pegged at $NZ20 million to $NZ25 million.
Fonterra bought the business in 2001 and it has previously been owned by Australian companies including Peters and Brownes.