Tip Top close to being sold to foreign buyer - reports

There's speculation that the sale of iconic ice-cream company Tip Top could be close, and that the buyer could be based off-shore.

Tip-Top's owner Fonterra is carrying out a strategic review of its assets, after posting a $196 million dollar loss for the year ending July 2018.

Fonterra Chairman John Monaghan told Newshub last year that a sale was on the cards.

"We are looking at our ongoing ownership of Tip Top and have appointed FNZC ( First NZ Capital ) as our external advisor to work with us as we consider a range of options," he said. 

He said the co-op was keen to see Tip Top remain a New Zealand-based business and that was being factored into their options.

However it's understood that four foreign bidders are involved in a possible sale, with the Australian Financial Review reporting that three Australian private equity firms are competing against a European investment group PAI Partners which is fronting for R&R Ice Cream.

The news of the potential sale last year prompted a petition to keep the company in New Zealand hands.

It was started by Fonterra farmer Mathew Herbert who said many farmers didn't want Tip Top sold to an overseas buyer.

"Tip Top is a brand that a lot of Kiwis know and trust, and farmers want it owned by New Zealand farmers and just keep that strong link from farm to freezer," he said.

Bids to buy Tip Top were due to close on April 29.