Bumble Bee Foods announced Thursday it will file for bankruptcy and sell its assets to a Taiwanese company for $925 million.
The bankruptcy sale comes in the aftermath of criminal fines and civil lawsuits against the San Diego company in the wake of a federal price-fixing case.
“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 chief executive officer.
“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,” added Tharp.
The iconic company, the largest North American brand of packaged seafood and a reminder of the importance of the tuna industry in San Diego decades ago, said it will file for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy laws.
The buyer, FCF Fishery, is the largest tuna supplier in the Western Pacific. Its bid is what Wall Street calls a “stalking horse,” setting a floor for other possible bids for Bumble Bee’s assets.
Bumble Bee and competitors Starkist and Chicken of the Sea were involved in a scheme to fix and raise prices of canned tuna from 2011 through late 2013. Bumble Bee’s former CEO, Christopher Lischewski, pleaded not guilty to related criminal charges in 2018, and his trial in federal court began Nov. 4.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: