Iconic Australian brands foreign-owned FourN’Twenty pies Herbert Adams while Mrs Mac’s remain Aussie

Aussies vow to BOYCOTT FourN’Twenty pies as the company is quietly sold to a Hong Kong corporate giant: ‘No longer Australian’

  • Australian companies Vesco Foods and Patties Foods were sold for $500million
  • Patties makes Four’n’Twenty pies plus Nanna’s and Herbert Adams products
  • Aussies reacted angrily to the news with one person labelling it a ‘disgrace’
  • Mrs Mac’s however remains Australian-owned and manufactured

Several of Australia’s most beloved brands, including FourN’Twenty, Nanna’s and Herbert Adams, have quietly become foreign-owned, while one favourite has stayed true blue.

Patties Foods, the largest meat pie-producing company in Australia, which is headquartered in Victoria’s Bairnsdale, also owns Chefs Pride, Snowy River and Boscastle, recently was bought by a major Asian conglomerate.

One of the largest private equity firms in Hong Kong, Pacific Alliance Group (PAG), bought Patties, taking some of the country’s mainstay labels with it.

Australian Made Products, a popular Facebook group with more than 160,000 followers, shared a graphic revealing the popular FourN’Twenty was no longer Aussie-owned, prompting people to describe the decision as a ‘disgrace’.

‘I won’t be buying FourN’Twenty ever again,’ a woman commented.

Several of Australia's most beloved brands including FourN'Twenty have quietly become foreign-owned after a major Asian firm bought its manufacturer

Several of Australia’s most beloved brands including FourN’Twenty have quietly become foreign-owned after a major Asian firm bought its manufacturer

The exact amount of the deal to acquire Patties was not disclosed but is reportedly in excess of $500million and will allow PAG to expand their Australian offering after buying Red Rooster, Oporto, and the WA-based Chicken Treat for a similar amount in 2019.

Patties Foods boss Paul Hitchcock said PAG’s purchase would ‘unlock further investment and innovation’.

‘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,’ he said.

Aussies are less convinced, with some suggesting its headline brand has changed its iconic recipe.

Herbert Adams is now also owned by the Hong Kong conglomerate after the $500million takeover of Patties Foods

Herbert Adams is now also owned by the Hong Kong conglomerate after the $500million takeover of Patties Foods

‘I used to eat a few FourN’Twenty pies as a kid and they seemed alright. More recently bought some and they were absolutely horrible. Yuck. Never again,’ a man replied to Australian Made Products’ post.

‘Quite sad, isn’t it. I am at a servo, and they have just swapped Mrs Mac’s out for FourN’Twenty,’ a woman commented.

Many people said there was an easy fix for people not wanting to support foreign-owned companies, buy local.

‘Buy your pies from your local bakery. I’m sure they would appreciate your support,’ a woman said.

Mrs Mac's, a staple of the Australian market since 1954, remains Australian owned and manufactured

Mrs Mac’s, a staple of the Australian market since 1954, remains Australian owned and manufactured

The Facebook group did however reveal Mrs Mac’s, a staple of the Australian market since 1954, remains Australian owned and manufactured.

‘I like Mrs Mac’s products and prefer to buy them when I can,’ a woman responded to the post.

‘Always use Mrs Mac’s microwave pies. They taste delicious,’ another said.  

PAG head of private equity and managing director of Australia and New Zealand, Sid Khotkar, said the acquisition would ‘enhance the strength of our business in Australia and NZ’.

Four’n’Twenty is the latest in a long line of iconic Australian brands to be bought out by overseas conglomerates. 

The brand became synonymous with the VFL and then AFL after being founded in Bendigo, Victoria 75 years ago

The brand became synonymous with the VFL and then AFL after being founded in Bendigo, Victoria 75 years ago

Tim Tam maker Arnott’s was bought by the US-owned Campbells Soup Company in the 1990s and on-sold to US investment fund KKR.

Breakfast table favourite Uncle Tobys is owned by Swiss-based Nestle, Fosters beer is owned by Japanese giant Asahi, and Tooheys is owned by its countrymate and rival Kirin.

Even country clothing maker RM Williams, about as Australian as there is, was sold to Louis Vuitton owner LVMH based in France in 2013.

But in an encouraging move, that company was repurchased by mining magnate Andrew Forrest and his wife Nicola through their company Tattarang in 2020, making the company wholly Australian-owned once again.

The PAG acquisition of Patties and Vesco is subject to regulatory approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), its NZ counterpart, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

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