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Regulators OK Connors' Purchase of Bumble Bee

September 01, 2004|From Associated Press

The U.S. Justice Department's antitrust division has reached a settlement to allow the proposed acquisition of fish processor Bumble Bee Seafoods by Canada's Connors Bros. Income Fund, the world's biggest producer of canned sardines.

Under a pact unveiled Tuesday, Connors Bros., a trust based in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick, would divest itself of its Port Clyde, Nova Scotia, sardine snack business, preserving competition in that market, said R. Hewitt Pate, assistant attorney general for the antitrust division.

"Without the divestiture, the acquisition would have consolidated all four mainstream sardine snack brands and created a near-monopoly in sardine snack products," Pate said.

Connors has processing plants in New Brunswick and Maine and its own fishing fleet.

San Diego-based Bumble Bee produces canned tuna, salmon and other seafood products. When the deal was announced in February, Bumble Bee was valued at about $385 million.

The settlement must be approved by a federal judge.

Shares of Connors closed down 1.41% on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Bumble Bee is privately held.

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