Private equity owners put Young’s Seafood up for sale

Published on
April 19, 2018

Young’s Seafood is for sale, according to its private equity owners.

Lion Capital, Bain Capital, and HPS Investment Partners have initiated an open bidding process for the sale of up to 100 percent of the Grimsby, United Kingdom-based frozen, fresh, and chilled value-added processor and supplier.

The private equity groups have "established a structured and open bidding process with all interested parties for the acquisition of up to 100 percent of the shares in its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary Lighthouse UKCo 5 (Holdings) Limited. This subsidiary, together with its subsidiaries, comprises substantially all of the operations and assets of the Young’s Seafood group," according to a shareholder notice published 19 April. "There can be no assurances that any offers will be made or, if one or more offers are made, that an offer will be accepted or the timing of such acceptance."

Rumors of the sale have been swirling since late 2017. In an email to SeafoodSource, a spokesperson for Young’s Seafood Limited confirmed the sale process has been initiated.

“We have sent out notification that we intend to start a structured and open bidding process with all interested parties for the sale of the Young’s Seafood group,” a spokesperson for Young’s Seafood Limited said in an email to SeafoodSource. "Young’s Seafood is the UK’s leading seafood supplier, with a 200-year heritage...We aim to inspire people to love fish now and for generations to come.”

Stamford Partners has reportedly been hired to handle the sale process, which could value Young’s Seafood at up to GPB 300 million (USD 427 million, EUR 345 million), according to The Telegraph.

Young’s Seafood one of the U.K.’s leading seafood suppliers, selling a wide range of value-added frozen products, including the Gastro and Chip Shop ranges. It had more than GBP 500 million [USD 712 million, EUR 575 million] in sales in 2017. 

The company announced earlier this month that it had taken over the Marks and Spencer supply contract for coated fish formerly held by Five Star Fish, and that it would be shifting work from its Pinneys site in Annan, Scotland to Grimsby by the end of 2018, resulting in the loss of 450 jobs.

Young’s was acquired by its current owners in 2008 from CapVest for GBP 1.1 billion (1.4 billion, EUR 1.2 billion), in a purchase that also included the Findus brands. In 2015, the European arm of Findus was sold off by Lion Capital to Nomad Foods. 

In September 2017, Young’s Seafood formed a partnership with The Fishin’ Company, based in Munhall, Pennsylvania, U.S.A, to drive its growth in the United States. SeafoodSource also reported in February that Young’s is planning an impending move to enter the Chinese market.

The Young’s sale will mark a further consolidation of the U.K. value-added seafood products sector, which saw Seachill sold to Hilton Food Group for GBP 80.8 million (USD 106.4 million, EUR 90.4 million) in October 2017.

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