Bumble Bee files bankruptcy amid antitrust fines and lawsuits

The Japan Times 

NEW YORK – Bumble Bee Foods LLC, the largest North American brand of packaged seafood, filed for bankruptcy amid criminal fines and civil lawsuits stemming from a federal price-fixing case with plans for its assets to be acquired by FCF Co. for about $925 million. The canned-tuna purveyor sought creditor protection under Chapter 11 in Wilmington, Delaware, listing assets and liabilities of as much as $1 billion each, according to court papers. It has arranged an $80 million term loan from its current lenders and a $200 million revolving credit facility to keep operating while in bankruptcy, the documents showed. Bumble Bee, based in San Diego, California, and owned by London-based private equity firm Lion Capital LLC, pleaded guilty in 2017 to conspiring with Starkist Co. and Chicken of the Sea Inc. to fix and raise prices in the U.S. The company flagged its financial distress at the time of sentencing, arguing the $81.5 million fine initially levied could push it into insolvency. The U.S. Department of Justice agreed, cutting the amount to $25 million and giving Bumble Bee an installment plan over several years that required no more than $2 million upfront.