Iconic Aussie food brands Four’n’Twenty, Lean Cuisine sold to Hong Kong investment giant

A stable of iconic Australian food brands including Four’n’Twenty pies and Lean Cuisine meals have been sold to the Hong Kong private investment firm that already owns fast food chains Red Rooster and Oporto in a $500 million-plus deal.

Pacific Alliance Group (PAG), one of the largest private equity funds in Asia has acquired Patties Foods (which makes Four’n’Twenty, Nanna’s, Herbert Adams, Chefs Pride, Boscastle, Leader, and Snowy River brands) and Vesco Foods (which owns Lean Cuisine and other brands). The terms of the deal were not disclosed but a source familiar with the agreement said the price exceeded $500 million.

Four’n’Twenty Pies will no longer be Australian after being bought out by a Hong Kong private equity firm.

Patties Foods’ chief Paul Hitchcock said PAG’s acquisition was a “clear sign” that it believes in Patties’ business and growth strategy.

“It is recognition of our reputation as a highly respected food manufacturer in Australia and New Zealand with a long list of loved food brands. The acquisition presents a significant opportunity,” Hitchcock said in a statement.

The acquisition will unlock further investment and innovation, he said.

Vesco boss Bernie Pummell said being acquired by PAG would build on Vesco’s success as well as “enable new exciting opportunities through the combination of Patties and Vesco”, Pummell said.

PAG head of private equity and managing director of Australia and New Zealand Sid Khotkar said the acquisition would propel the brands to the “next level”.

“Over the past few years, PAG has had the privilege of working with several leading Australian companies, and we are looking forward to putting that expertise to work in support of Patties and Vesco, and helping them provide the highest quality products to consumers across Australia, New Zealand and beyond,” said Khotkar.

Four’n’Twenty pies was created 75 years ago by piemaker Leslie Thompson McClure in Bendigo, Victoria. McClure sold it to Peters Ice Cream in 1960, and was subsequently sold to Simplot before being sold to Patties Foods in 2003. Four’N’Twenty pies are now sold in Japan and the US as well as Australia.

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