Lion Capital to exit Bumble Bee

North America’s largest seafood company will be acquired by Thai Union

British private equity firm Lion Capital has sold Bumble Bee Seafood to Thai Union Frozen Products for $1.51 billion.

Lion Capital first acquired the company in 2010. The sale comes in at approximately 8.6 times EBIDTA, according to Thai Union.

Thai Union already owns Chicken of The Sea, another North American seafood company, that when combined with Bumble Bee would leave only Sunkist as a rival. Thai Union is already the world’s largest producer of canned tuna.

California-based Bumble Bee generates annual sales of approximately $1 billion and employs more than 1,300 people.

Once the transaction is finalized, TUF and Bumble Bee will focus on enhancing operating efficiencies for material sourcing and production, and new product development, primarily in North American markets.

The transaction is expected to close within the first half of 2015, subject to regulatory approvals. That approval could see the divestment of some of Thai Union’s holdings given the potential antitrust concerns arising from the acquisition of a second of just three brands for canned tuna in North America.

Lion Capital is currently investing out of its third fund, a €1.53 billion vehicle that closed in 2012 just shy of its €2 billion target, according to Private Equity International’s research and analytics division.