Bankruptcy court gives Bumble Bee sale green light

Buyer will pay debts owed to Department of Justice as well as other debts.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

January 24, 2020

1 Min Read
Bankruptcy court gives Bumble Bee sale green light

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware has approved a stalking horse bid of $925.6 million for the sale of Bumble Bee Foods to Taiwan-based tuna company FCF Co., one of the world’s largest marine product integrated supply chain service providers, with more than 40 years of experience.

The U.S. Department of Justice as well as the companies owed in Bumble Bee’s price-fixing lawsuit had partially objected to the sale, but the objections were resolved Jan. 24 when FCF guaranteed all of Bumble Bee’s performance and payment obligations.

The judge still has to approve a final edited sale order, which may contain additional provisions that FCF must meet.

Bumble Bee has been plagued by legal woes over the last couple of years and pleaded guilty in 2017 to a tuna price-fixing case. According to DOJ, the company paid a $25 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix the prices of shelf-stable tuna fish, such as canned and pouch tuna, sold in the U.S.

However, the company is also facing three class action lawsuits that are still pending as well as eight other separate legal claims.

In bankruptcy documents, Bumble Bee said it has spent “tens of millions of dollars” in defense costs. Its debt at the time of the bankruptcy filing totaled $650 million.

In December 2019, former Bumble Bee Foods LLC chief executive officer Chris Lischewski was also convicted in the price-fixing scheme after being found guilty by a federal jury in San Francisco, Cal. Prosecutors alleged that Lischewski conspired with colleagues as well as executives from rival companies to boost prices and meet earnings targets.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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