Iconic New Zealand ice cream company Tip Top has been sold for $380 million.
Fonterra has owned the brand since 2001, but today confirmed the sale to global ice cream company Froneri.
The sale was "a bittersweet moment", Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell said in a statement.
Fonterra had received strong support in the nearly two decades of ownership of Tip Top, which meant the company was sold for a good price, Mr Hurrell said.
But, he assured the brand was going to a good company, with an agreement signed with the new owners to supply milk which ensures that Fonterra farmers will continue to be part of the Tip Top story.
"It’s a fantastic brand and as a result, we’ve secured a good price for our farmers and unit holders," he said. "One of the big attractions for Froneri is the fact that Tip Top and Kāpiti ice cream both use fresh milk and cream, from New Zealand grass-fed cows.
"I get the strong connection New Zealanders have with Tip Top. It will be important for them to see that it’s in good hands."
An average of 340 serves of Tip Top are consumed every minute of every day, Mr Hurrell said.
"It’s been a privilege being the guardians of Tip Top, but it’s time to hand the baton to new owners. The well-loved brand needs continuing investment and focused ownership to be sustainable for generations to come. It’s not something we’re in a position to do right now."
Froneri is the third largest ice cream manufacturer in the world, selling a staple of well-known ice cream brands in 20 countries.
Froneri chief executive Ibrahim Najafi said the company had always admired Tip Top as New Zealand’s favourite and most trusted ice cream brand.
"The acquisition enhances our scale and supports our vision to build the world’s best ice cream company."
The agreed settlement date is May 31. Tip Top employees will transfer across to become part of Froneri.