FCF swoops in for Bumble Bee as it files for bankruptcy

Published on
November 22, 2019

Taiwan-based Fong Chun Formosa (FCF) Fishery Company has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Bumble Bee Foods, which filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. state of Delaware.

The 25-page filing, made on 21 November, includes more detail about FCF’s stalking-horse bid for the company, which was first reported by Bloomberg to be around USD 925 million (EUR 836 million).

According to Bumble Bee’s bankruptcy filing, the agreement includes a debtor-in-possession term loan facility of USD 80 million (EUR 72.4 million) and a debtor-in-possession asset-based revolving credit facility of 200 million (EUR 180.9 million).

“The company and its affiliates have negotiated a sale of substantially all of their assets, subject to higher or better offers, to FCF Co., Ltd. or its affiliates,” Bumble Bee’s filing said. “The company intends to commence proceedings under chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code to pursue approval of the sale to FCF, subject to higher or otherwise better offers.”

In a press release, FCF Co. confirmed it had entered into a purchase agreement to "acquire substantially all of the company’s assets and to ensure that the 120-year old provider of healthy and nutritious shelf-stable seafood continues to serve its valued customers."

A list of Bumble Bee’s 20 largest creditors is topped by FCF Co., which is owed more than USD 50 million (EUR 45.3 million).

Listed second is the U.S. Department of Justice, which is still owed USD 17 million (EUR 15.4 million) of the USD 25 million (EUR 22.6 million) fine it levied against the company for pleading guilty to illegally conspiring to fix the price of canned tuna it sold in the United States from 2011 to 2013.

Envases Universales de Mexico, a packaging supplier that provided Bumble Bee with its cans, is owed more than USD 2.3 million (EUR 2.1 million), and Walmart is owed about the same amount.

Further down the list, Thai Union is owed more than USD 1 million (EUR 905,482).

Owed an “undetermined” amount by Bumble Bee are the three classes of litigants in civil cases spurred by Bumble Bee’s involvement in the price-fixing case. Those are the direct purchaser plaintiff class, the commercial food preparer class, and the end-payer plaintiff class. All three have their status listed as “claim under dispute,” as their lawsuits have yet to be resolved.

Photo courtesy of Perry Correll/Shutterstock

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