Leader Products, the New Zealand frozen convenience food manufacturer has been bought by Australian food maker Patties. No price has been disclosed.

Leader was founded in 1998 and produces burgers, schnitzels, hotdogs and lasagna toppas for retailers including Countdown, New World and Pak'N'Save as well as cafes, grocery stores, caterers and sports stadiums.

The Australian Financial Review first reported Leader was up for sale last month, but managing director Tony Peterson rubbished the article, although accepted the company's owners were "looking at opportunities."

Patties is owned by private equity giant, Pacific Equity Partners, who bought the company in 2016. Peterson is to retain a stake in the combined business and will remain managing director of Leader. It's understood Leader has turnover of about $60 million.


Paul Hitchcock, Patties chief executive, said in an e-mailed statement that the two companies were natural partners.

"This deal will create a market-leading food business across Australia and New Zealand," he said. "Leader is a great New Zealand success story and we are very keen to support the team in their continued growth."

Tony Peterson, Leader managing director, said that Patties "will be great long-term partner for Leader, with capital to invest in our local manufacturing capacity and our continued growth and expansion in Australasia."

Leader was founded in 1998 by Tony Peterson and Richard Crabb. The transaction is expected to complete early next year and requires regulatory approval.