Whitby Seafoods calls off deal to purchase Kilhorne Bay, citing resource-heavy merger review process

A Whitby Seafoods promotional image featuring its scampi.

North Yorkshire, U.K.-based family-owned seafood business Whitby Seafoods recently pulled out of its purchase of Kilhorne Bay Seafoods due to the resource-heavy process required to finalize the deal.

Whitby Seafoods, the country’s largest scampi producer, announced plans to acquire Northern Ireland-based seafood supplier Kilhorne Bay in August 2023. The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) subsequently confirmed it was investigating the planned merger and that a phase 1 decision on the acquisition process would come by 4 October.

With the CMA announcing on that date that it intended to refer the proposed deal for an in-depth phase 2 investigation as part of its merger review process, Whitby Seafoods informed the authority that it wouldn’t be proceeding with its acquisition plan.

“As a Yorkshire-based, family-owned business with a commitment to providing high-quality, excellent value breaded scampi to our customers, the proposed merger was appealing because our values are highly aligned with Kilhorne – a small family-owned company based in Northern Ireland,” Whitby Seafoods stated. “Half of Kilhorne’s scampi sales were in Europe, and this gave Whitby a unique opportunity to build a new market for our business. Sadly, the resources required to engage in a CMA phase 2 investigation are out of all proportion to any potential benefit from the deal, and we have, therefore, withdrawn our offer for Kilhorne and will not be proceeding with ... 

Photo courtesy of Whitby Seafoods

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