Mitsui takes stake in Mark Foods

Published on
March 19, 2018

The U.S. subsidiary of Japanese corporate giant Mitsui has purchased a stake in New York City, U.S.A.-based Mark Foods.

Founded in 2002, Mark Foods focuses on the import and distribution of premium seafood, with around 95 percent of its products being wild-caught. It is one of the leading U.S. suppliers of Chilean sea bass, also known as Patagonian toothfish. Mark Foods CEO Barry Markman will retain his position and his role as the controlling shareholder in the company.

“Mark Foods looks forward to the opportunity to partner with Mitsui, given its successful history of investing in food companies and supporting those companies in their strategic growth programs,” Markman said in a press release. “Mitsui’s global scale and existing supply of shrimp, salmon, and tuna makes it an ideal, complimentary fit for Mark Foods and its existing suppliers and customers.”

Mitsui’s investment will allow Mark Foods to “continue to expand its ability to market premium, niche seafood products to high-end distributors, retailers, and restaurant groups,” Markman said.

Mitsui & Co (U.S.A.) is the U.S. subsidiary of Mitsui and Co. Ltd, one of the largest general trading companies in the world, with holdings in food, energy, machinery, chemicals, textile, logistics, finance, and other sectors. Mitsui publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange under the trading code 8031. 

“The U.S. seafood industry is an important market for growth as rising consumer health awareness has contributed largely to marine products today being the largest share of food imported into the U.S.," So Maehara, general manager of the food business department at Mitsui & Co. (USA), said in a press release.

Chris Ruettgers, the former CEO of Icicle Seafoods who was hired as president of Mark Foods earlier in 2018, executed the formation of the strategic alliance with Mitsui. Moving forward, Ruettgers will head Mark Foods’ growth initiatives and expansion efforts.

Antarctica Advisors, an independent investment banking firm, acted as the investment banking advisor to Mitsui in the transaction. 

“The partnership between Mitsui and Mark Foods will allow both parties to leverage its strengths for growth in the U.S. seafood market," Antarctica Advisors Partner Birgir Brynjolfsson said. "Mitsui has made a strong commitment to support the growth of Mark Foods and they have found exceptional partners in the management team and employees of Mark Foods to execute the long-term growth strategy."

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