Thai Union set to add Bumble Bee to US business

Thai Union set to add Bumble Bee to US business

Thai Union Frozen Products has struck a deal to buy US canned seafood supplier Bumble Bee Foods from private-equity firm Lion Capital for US$1.51bn.

The Thai giant, which owns the US seafood brand Chicken of the Sea, was this summer reported to have registered its interest in Bumble Bee.

It said the acquisition would help the business make its sourcing more efficient and see it "advance" in the areas of NPD, particularly in North America.

TUF president and CEO Thiraphong Chansiri said the deal is the largest acquisition in the company's history. He said the transaction would be "immediately accretive" to TUF's earnings and cash flows and increase revenues by approximately 25%.

He added: "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."

San Diego-based Bumble Bee generates annual sales of around US$1bn and will have an estimated EBITDA of US$145m in 2014, TUF said.

Lion Capital paid another private-equity firm, Centre Partners Management, $980m for Bumble Bee in 2010.

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

Both companies expect the deal, which remains subject to clearance from US competition officials, to be finalised in the second half of next year.

The acquisition is TUF's third international deal this year. In September, the company bought Norway-based King Oscar and snapped up French smoked salmon producer MerAlliance for undisclosed sums.

TUF is also the owner of UK-based canned seafood brand John West, France's Petit Navire and Italy's Mareblu.

In the wake of the two deals in Europe this year, just-food analysed the transactions and asked analysts covering TUF what they made of speculation linking the business to Bumble Bee. Click here to read more.