Thai Union buys Bumble Bee for USD 1.5b

By

Sean Murphy, SeafoodSource online editor

Published on
December 19, 2014

Thai Union Frozen Products (TUF) has announced it is purchasing Bumble Bee Foods for a total purchase price of USD 1.5 billion (EUR 1.2 billion).

“The deal is the largest acquisition in the history of our company and one of the most exciting external growth propositions,” said Thirapong Chansiri, president and CEO of TUF. “Bumble Bee Seafoods is a leading player in North American shelf-stable seafood; combining the business with Thai Union Group will lower costs, improve efficiency and create the global leader in the shelf-stable seafood space”

TUF announced the purchase of 100 percent of the shares of the San Diego-based company from its owner, London-based equity firm Lion Capital, which acquired Bumble Bee Foods in December 2010 for USD 980 million. 

“We are particularly pleased to have found a strategic home for Bumble Bee Seafoods with the proven expertise of Thai Union,” said Lyndon Lea, partner at Lion Capital. “Thai Union is uniquely qualified to build even greater growth and prosperity of Bumble Bee Seafoods business in the future.”

Bumble Bee Seafoods President and CEO Chris Lischewski said he supported the move.

“I have always believed that Thai Union and Bumble Bee Seafoods represented a natural combination given the synergies that exist between our organizations,” he said. “We share a strong vision towards innovation, operational excellence, sustainability and value for our consumers, which is one of the many reasons this combination is good news for our customers, consumers and the industry as a whole.”

TUF also owns Chicken of the Sea, a company also known for canned and packed tuna products sold in the United States. In response to the announcement, Chicken of the Sea CEO Shue Wing Chan spoke in support of the acquisition.

“Thai Union has been present in the United States for over 17 years, and this acquisition is a sign of the company’s continued commitment to the 2nd largest seafood market in the world,” Chan said. “We are a strategic investor with a long-term view of the market. We believe that, together, we will be able to reinvigorate the canned seafood category in North America."

Bumble Bee generates annual sales of approximately USD 1 billion (EUR 814.5 million) and an estimated earnings of USD 145 million (EUR 118.1 million) in 2014. The company has a workforce of more than 1,300 people, producing and selling canned, pouched and frozen seafood products across the United States and Canada. Both companies said they expect the transaction will close in the second half of 2015.

Lion Capital owns Findus Group, based in London, which is one of Europe's largest frozen food and seafood companies with more than GBP 1 billion (USD 1.565 billion; EUR 1.275 billion) in annual sales.

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