Management at American Seafoods have successfully taken control of the company’s voting securities.

In a statement, the copany said that its management group and Coastal Villages Region Fund, the company’s Alaskan business partner, have acquired all of the equity interests in the company held by Centre Partners, giving them ownership of substantially all the voting securities in American Seafoods.

Centre Partners, a leading, middle-market private equity firm with offices in Los Angeles and New York, sold its nearly 23% equity interest in the company to a management group led by Bernt O. Bodal, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, and Coastal Villages.

Through the acquisition, the company’s management increased its ownership stake to approximately 51% of the voting equity in the company. Coastal Villages increased its ownership to approximately 45% and Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, another Alaskan community development group, increased its ownership to slightly more than 4%.
The aggregate purchase price for Centre’s interest in the company was US$81.75m, the company said.

The management group’s acquisition was financed by Islandsbanki, ISB, and was made through a newly formed limited liability company, ASLP Acquisition. Additional financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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“This is a very positive development for the company and its employees as it demonstrates our commitment to the future of American Seafoods,” said Bodal, who increased his personal ownership in American Seafoods to 40% from 24% as a result of the transaction. “We strongly believe that the long-term interests of American Seafoods are best served with this private ownership group.”

The transaction will not affect the ongoing operations of the company, Bodal said.

“This ownership change will be completely transparent to our employees, our partners, our customers and most of our other stakeholders,” Bodal said. “It ensures that the company will continue to have a strong and stable foundation for continued growth and prosperity.”

The deal completes a process that began in 2002 when Centre Partners, which held 45% of the company after it joined with Bodal to acquire American Seafoods from Norway Seafoods in January 2000, sold down approximately half of its stake to Bodal and Coastal Villages.

As part of the transaction, the company restructured its board of directors. In addition to Bodal and Crow, the board will consist of Robert Williams, deputy director, Coastal Villages Region Fund; Jeff Davis, former chief operating officer, American Seafoods; Scott Perekslis, managing director, Centre Partners Management LLC; Bill Bittner, partner, Birch, Horton, Bittner and Cherot; and, Ren Jurgensen, retired director, KPMG.

Effective today, Eric Wilmes, Lester Pollack, Michael Magerman and John Fluke have resigned from the company’s board, the company announced. On behalf of the company, Bodal expressed thanks to these directors for their exemplary service.