OceanBox acquires M. Slavin and Sons

Published on
June 21, 2019

Seafood subscription box service OceanBox has acquired one of America’s oldest seafood distributors, even as the distributor’s facility is being foreclosed on.

The Bronx, New York, U.S.A.-based building of M. Slavin & Sons, one of America’s oldest seafood distributors, was reportedly foreclosed on by Northmill Capital on 14 June, according to the New York Post. OceanBox was listed as the sole bidder for the property.

M. Slavin & Sons laid off their 48 employees on 1 June, according to a government filing, thePost reported.

When SeafoodSource called the number listed for “Slavin Fish,” an OceanBox representative said that OceanBox acquired M. Slavin & Sons and that the company no longer exists. 

OceanBox sources the seafood for its subscription boxes from “the same fishermen and purveyors who are trusted by the world’s most discerning chefs. OceanBox gives home cooks access to fish "previously exclusive to top restaurants,” the company says on its website.

This spring, Keen Summit Capital Partners listed for sale “one of the larger seafood distributors on the eastern seaboard, with historic New York City fish-market roots as a seafood wholesaler, retailer, and distributor.” Bids were due by the end of May.

Since M. Slavin & Sons formerly operated at the New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point, some speculated that it was the mystery distributor up for sale. Heather Milazzo, a representative for Keen Summit, told SeafoodSource on 21 June that she would not speculate whether the company for sale is M. Slavin & Sons. The winning bidder will be officially announced in early July, she added.

The net sales of the anonymous company dropped significantly, from USD 47.9 million (EUR 42 million) in 2017 to around USD 35 million (EUR 31 million) in 2018. The company that purchased M. Slavin & Sons would have access to the trade name and trademarks, web sites, and a customer list of more than 1,000 names.

Accounts receivables for the seafood distributor were listed at approximately USD 1.96 million (EUR 1.7 million). The appraised value on its property, which includes 18,450 square feet of production space and 4,300 square feet of office space - was USD 1.86 million (EUR 1.6 million).

The current website for Slavin Fish simply says, “Future home of something quite cool.”

The company has struggled financially for years, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2011. At the time, its liabilities included a USD 5.4 million debt (EUR 4.8 million) to Capital One and an USD 11 million (EUR 9.7 million) debt to the Hunts Point Cooperative Market. 

However, M. Slavin & Sons emerged from bankruptcy just 10 months after its filing.

“We are pleased the company was able to successfully turn around its business and confirm a plan within 10 months of the filing,” said Gary Herwitz, managing partner of CoMetrics Partners, which M. Slavin & Sons retained to serve as a financial advisor during the bankruptcy, at the time.

“The turnaround was complex with respect to closing non-performing business segments and selling certain assets and real estate to effectuate the recapitalization,” he added. “Ultimately, we were able to attract new lenders and obtain the consensus of the various constituents including the existing secured lender, unsecured creditors and labor union to confirm the plan.”

Contributing Editor



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