Thai Union nixes Bumble Bee deal, retains Chicken of the Sea

Thai Union Group has decided to squash its proposed plans to acquire Bumble Bee Seafoods following dissent from U.S. authorities who said the deal would be a deterrent to competition in the seafood market at large.

Had the USD 1.5 billion (EUR 1.37 billion) deal gone down, Thai Union would have captained two of North America’s most prominent canned tuna brands. According to Thai Union’s Chief Executive Thiraphong Chansiri, the company plans to purchase numerous other firms so that it can still reach its lofty goal of hitting USD 8 billion in revenue by 2020.

"We will have cash to buy other companies," Chansiri told Reuters. "This will help us reach the 2020 target."

It became increasingly clear over time that the deal, which the company announced nearly a year ago, would probably not be cleared in the United States, ultimately prompting Chansiri and company to dash the Bumble Bee acquisition.

U.S. authorities have aired their approval of Thai Union’s decision to move on from Bumble Bee.

"Consumers are better off without this deal," Bill Baer, the assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice's anti-trust division, said in a statement. "Our investigation convinced us - and the parties knew or should have known from the get go - that the market is not functioning competitively today and further consolidation would only make things worse."

Thai Union will not be selling its U.S. subsidiary Chicken of the Sea in light of its decision to step away from the Bumble Bee acquisition, explained Chansiri.

"We have decided to focus our energy on our existing business. Thai Union remains committed to the North American seafood market," he added to Reuters.

TU shares fell by up to 3.7 percent, putting them on course for the worst single-day dip since 7 August.

Chicken of the Sea, according to the Department of Justice, generated a revenue of USD 400 million (EUR 366 million) back in 2013.


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