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SAN DIEGO -- Bumble Bee Foods has agreed to sell its assets to FCF Co. Ltd. in Taiwan for $925 million, a move sparked by significant legal challenges faced by the company.

Bumble Bee, one of North America's largest branded seafood companies, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization Thursday in Delaware to help pave the way for the proposed sale.

"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 for Bumble Bee, in a statement. "We have an experienced leadership team in place and plan to transform our business in bold and innovative ways that will build a legacy worthy of our proud 120-year-old history."

Bumble Bee has been mired in legal challenges related to price-fixing allegations. In 2017, the company pleaded guilty to conspiracy to fix the prices of tuna fish from as early as 2011 through at least as late as the the end of 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Former chief executive Christopher Lischewski pleaded innocent last year to criminal charges related to the price-fixing investigation. His trial is underway in California federal court.

Starkist also pleaded guilty to the price-fixing charges in 2018, according to Bloomberg News. Chicken of the Sea received conditional leniency from the U.S. Department of Justice for in the investigation.

Bumble Bee said that it has received new financing commitments from its existing lenders that will provide sufficient liquidity to fund the business through the closing of the sale.

FCF will serve as a "stalking horse" purchaser for the sale process, the company said. Its bid will be the baseline for a court-supervised auction process aimed at getting the highest offer for the company's business.

Bumble Bee sells seafood products under the Bumble Bee, Brunswick, Snow's, Wild Selections and Beach Cliff brands.

Business on 11/22/2019

Print Headline: Bumble Bee files for bankruptcy


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