Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Private Equity Owned Bumble Bee Tuna Prepping for Bankruptcy

We now go a bit down market, from the Swiss ski resorts and superyachts in the post immediately below, to canned tuna.
From SeafoodSource, November 18:

Bumble Bee to file for bankruptcy this week, Wall Street Journal reports 
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, 15 November that Bumble Bee Foods will file a chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in the coming days.

Concurrent with the chapter 11 filing, London, U.K.-based private equity firm Lion Capital will put Bumble Bee up for sale, the WSJ reported, citing anonymous sources “familiar with the matter.”
Neither Lion Capital nor Bumble Bee responded to requests from the WSJ for comment.
Bumble Bee has struggled financially since it was penalized USD 25 million (EUR 22.8 million) for its part in a price-fixing scheme.

Lion Capital purchased Bumble Bee Foods from Centre Partners in 2010 for USD 980 million (EUR 886 million). It sought to sell Bumble Bee to Thai Union, the owner of the Chicken of the Sea tuna brand, for USD 1.5 billion (EUR 1.3 billion) in 2014 but the sale was nixed after U.S. authorities discovered evidence of price-fixing amongst the two companies and rival StarKist. Former Bumble Bee CEO is currently on trial for his own alleged role in the conspiracy.

Tangible signs the company is in dire financial straits first came as part of the imposition of a reduced penalty in the criminal case for price-fixing, when the the U.S. DOJ agreed to lower the amount of the criminal fine to USD 25 million (EUR 22.8 million) to protect the company from insolvency.....

So it wasn't the millennial's lack of can openers?

Yesterday Undercurrent News reported that Bumble Bee had someone to start the bidding:

‘Stalking horse’ bidder lined up for Bumble Bee as part of likely bankruptcy filing
A “stalking horse” bidder, said to be an industry player, is lined up for Bumble Bee Foods if -- or when, according to some executives -- the company goes into US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, sources told Undercurrent News.

A Chapter 11 filing is seen as highly likely for the beleaguered shelf-stable seafood giant, driven by the lack of a settlement with the litigants in the civil lawsuits against the Lion Capital-owned company over its tuna price fixing, sources said. This comes as Chris Lischewski, the long-time CEO of Bumble Bee, is on trial in San Francisco, California for allegedly leading the price-fixing....

Now, about those can openers, from the Wall Street Journal, Dec. 2, 2018:

The Trouble With Tuna: ‘A Lot of Millennials Don’t Even Own Can Openers’
StarKist, Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea deal with slumping market amid competition from fresher options
As seen in "Fed Working Paper: "Are Millennials Different?" (and why 'news for millenials' plays never panned out)".