San Diego, California-based Bumble Bee Foods, one of North America’s largest branded shelf-stable seafood companies, has entered into an asset purchase agreement with affiliates of FCF Co. Ltd., which has agreed to acquire the company’s assets for approximately $925 million. To facilitate the sale and reduce its debt burden caused by recent and significant legal challenges, the company has initiated proceedings under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the District of Delaware. Bumble Bee has received new financing commitments from its existing lenders that will provide sufficient liquidity to fund the business through the closing of the sale.
“It’s been a challenging time for our company but today’s actions allow us to move forward with minimal disruption to our day-to-day operations,” said Jan Tharp, president and CEO for Bumble Bee. “We have an experienced leadership team in place and plan to transform our business in bold and innovative ways that will build a legacy worthy of our proud 120-year-old history.”
Bumble Bee intends to file a bid procedures and sale motion along with the purchase agreement promptly. FCF will serve as the “stalking horse” purchaser for the sale process. Its bid will be subject to a court-supervised auction process designed to achieve the highest or otherwise best offer for the company’s business. Tharp said she anticipates that the transaction will move swiftly and close within 60-90 days.
As part of the sale transaction, Bumble Bee’s Canadian affiliate, Connors Bros. Clover Leaf Seafoods Co. (CBCLS), will be initiating proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). As part of the CCAA, CBCLS intends to seek approval of the appointment of Alvarez & Marsal Canada Inc. as the monitor to oversee the CCAA proceedings.
“It is our clear intent that all U.S. and Canadian operations continue uninterrupted. Employees will get paid, our customer partners can count on us to continue delivering outstanding brands and services, and vendors will be paid in the ordinary course of business,” said Tharp.