Bumble Bee Seafoods bought by Thai firm

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SAN DIEGO — Bumble Bee Seafoods, located in San Diego for nearly 40 years, was acquired by Thai Union Frozen Frozen Foods for $1.5 billion, the firms announced Thursday.

Bumble Bee, billed as the largest provider of seafood to grocery store shelves in North America, has a history of acquisitions and mergers since it established a cannery in San Diego in 1977, when tuna fishing was a major local industry.

The 115-year-old company employs more than 1,300 people and generates annual sales of around $1 billion.

“I have always believed that Bumble Bee and Thai Union share a strong vision for innovation, operational excellence, sustainability and value for our consumers, making this combination good news for customers, consumers and the industry as a whole,” said Chris Lischewski, president and CEO of Bumble Bee Seafoods.

“Importantly, we commit to uphold the indispensable role as one of the world’s leaders in providing responsibly harvested and processed seafood,” Lischewski said.

A jointly issued statement says the companies will focus on enhancing operating efficiencies for material sourcing and production, innovation, and new product development, primarily in North American markets.

The sale, which is subject to U.S. antitrust approval and other conditions, is expected to close in the second half of next year.

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