Bumble Bee exploring sale of Canadian arm Clover Leaf Seafoods
Bumble Bee Foods-owned Clover Leaf Seafoods Co., a supplier of canned and pouched seafood, is reportedly exploring a sale.
Citing unnamed sources, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Markham, Ontario, Canada-based Clover Leaf retained investment bank Houlihan Lokey Inc. to conduct the sale.
Bumble Bee declined to comment when contacted by SeafoodSource.
Clover Leaf generates an estimated USD 30 million (EUR 27 million) annually, primarily through the sale of canned and pouched tuna, salmon, mussels, and oysters, according to the article.
San Diego, California, U.S.A.-based Bumble Bee, itself backed by investment firm Lion Capital, has faced financial difficulties after becoming enmeshed by a federal investigation into a price-fixing conspiracy between it, Chicken of the Sea, and StarKist. In August 2017, the company struck a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice to lower the amount it will pay to the government to USD 25 million (EUR 22.8 million) due to the potential a higher fine could make the company insolvent.
In 2018, Bumble Bee CEO Chris Lischewski was charged with price-fixing and Lischewski has taken a leave of absence from the company to fight the case. Earlier this month, former Bumble Bee executives Kenneth Worsham and Walter Scott Cameron were identified as key witnesses for the government in its case against Lischewski.
Chicken of the Sea International President and CEO Shue Wing Chan and former StarKist Senior Vice President of Sales Stephen Hodge are also identified by Lischewski’s lawyers as cooperating witnesses.