Cooke completes Omega Protein acquisition

Acquisition further diversifies Cooke's businesses.

Cooke Inc., a New Brunswick company and parent of Cooke Aquaculture Inc., announced Dec. 19 the completion of its acquisition of Omega Protein Corp., a nutritional product company and a leading integrated provider of specialty oils and specialty protein products.

Under the terms of the transaction, Cooke has acquired all outstanding shares of Omega Protein for $22 per share in cash, or a total value of approximately $500 million.

"The acquisition of Omega Protein will help further diversify the supply side of our business and supports our strategy of responsible growth as a leader in seafood production," Cooke Inc. chief executive officer Glenn Cooke said. "We are bringing together two innovative fishery teams with a passion for delivering superior products, service and value to our customers in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner."

Omega Protein is a century-old company that develops, produces and delivers healthy products throughout the world to improve the nutritional integrity of foods, dietary supplements and animal feeds. The company's mission is to help people lead healthier lives with better nutrition through sustainably sourced ingredients such as highly refined specialty oils, specialty protein products and nutraceuticals.

Omega Protein operates seven manufacturing facilities located in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Prior to the closing of the acquisition, Omega Protein operated more than 30 vessels to harvest menhaden, a fish found abundantly in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Going forward, these vessels will be operated by Alpha VesselCo Holdings Inc.

"With over 1,000 employees and a purchase price of $500 million, Omega Protein is the largest acquisition in the 32-year history of Cooke," Glenn Cooke added. "We started our family-operated company in 1985 and, through the hard work of our employees, have grown to become a fully integrated global seafood leader offering a wide array of farmed and wild-caught products to customers around the world."

The animal feed ingredients produced by Omega Protein are an important component in Cooke Aquaculture's production of Atlantic salmon, making this acquisition a strategic move that greatly enhances Cooke's vertical integration.

The Cooke family of companies includes global aquaculture divisions under Cooke Inc. and its wholly owned Cooke Aquaculture subsidiary, as well as a Canadian aquaculture division operated by its Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. affiliate. The company also includes seafood divisions under Cooke Seafood USA Inc. and Icicle Seafoods Inc.

Cooke Aquaculture is a vertically integrated aquaculture corporation based in Blacks Harbour, N.B., with salmon farming operations in Atlantic Canada, the U.S. (Maine and Washington), Chile and Scotland as well as seabass and seabream farming operations in Spain.

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