Year-long Acquisition of Bumble Bee Foods Terminated

Dec. 7, 2015
Thai Union Group calls off purchase because of objections by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

The acquisition of Bumble Bee Foods LLC by Thai Union Group Public Co. Ltd. has been terminated because of anti-trust objections by the U.S. Dept. of Justice. Thai Union already owns Chicken of the Sea.

The purchase was revealed Dec. 19, 2014 as a nearly done deal. But this Dec. 4, Thai Union of Bangkok said it reached an agreement with Lion Capital, which owns Bumble Bee, to mutually terminate the acquisition.

"Over the course of last 12 months, both Thai Union and Lion Capital have vigorously advocated the merits of the deal to the U.S. Department of Justice," Thai Union said. "However, Thai Union and Lion Capital have concluded that the clearance is unlikely under the time stipulated in the share purchase agreement."

“We have put a lot of efforts to get this deal approved. However, we also recognize that the clearance is now unlikely due to a higher level of complexity in the process," said Thiraphong Chansiri, president and CEO of Thai Union. “We have decided to focus our energy on our existing business. Thai Union remains committed to the North American seafood market.”

Bumble Bee is the No. 2 tuna brand in the U.S., and Thai Union's Chicken of the Sea is third in sales. The leading brand is Starkist, owned by South Korea's Dongwon Industries Co. Ltd.

Bumble Bee would have been the largest acquisition in the history of Thai Union.

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