Centre Partners Completes $980 Million Sale of Bumble Bee Foods to Lion Capital

New York-based middle-market firm Centre Partners has completed its sale of Bumble Bee Foods — North America’s biggest supplier of “shelf-stable seafood” to the London-based, consumer-focused PE firm Lion Capital for $980 million. Bumble Bee was founded in 1897.

PRESS RELEASE:

New York, NY, December 15, 2010—Centre Partners Management LLC (“Centre Partners”) is pleased to announce the completion of the sale of the operating companies of Bumble Bee Foods (“Bumble Bee”) to funds advised by Lion Capital (“Lion”) for a purchase price of $980 million. Bumble Bee is North America’s leading supplier of shelf-stable seafood and one of the world’s top 10 branded seafood companies.

Founded in 1897 and headquartered in San Diego, California, Bumble Bee maintains leadership positions in virtually every segment of the U.S. and Canadian shelf-stable seafood market. The company produces and markets shelf-stable tuna, salmon, sardines, clams and other specialty seafood products that are sold under the Bumble Bee®, Clover Leaf®, Brunswick®, Snow’s®, Beach Cliff®, King Oscar® and Sweet Sue® brands. Its best-known brands, Bumble Bee and Clover Leaf, are iconic market leaders and enjoy nearly 90 percent consumer awareness levels in the U.S. and Canada, respectively.

Bumble Bee’s diverse product offering is sold at every major U.S. and Canadian food retailer and food distributor, including supermarkets, mass merchandisers, drug stores, warehouse clubs and dollar stores. The company has 1,700 employees across 8 facilities in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico and in 2009 generated over $940 million of net revenue.

Scott Perekslis, Senior Partner at Centre Partners said: “We are pleased to consummate this transaction and realize the success that Bumble Bee has experienced during our recent ownership. We have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with Bumble Bee’s management team, led by Chris Lischewski. Mr. Lischewski and his team have delivered or exceeded the aggressive objectives we mutually set forth at the outset. We believe that this recent track record will provide the momentum for continued growth, and we wish the company every success in the years to come.”

Bumble Bee Chief Executive Officer Chris Lischewski added: “We are proud of our accomplishments with Centre Partners, who brought a unique depth of experience investing in branded consumer businesses and the food sector. The firm’s financial support and expertise enabled us to accelerate our growth plans for the business, while allowing us to maintain our focus on operational excellence. This transaction is a clear endorsement of the collective efforts to further strengthen the business and position it for future growth.”

Centre Partners and Bumble Bee Foods were advised by J.P. Morgan and Dechert LLP; Wells Fargo and Jefferies acted as co-advisors.