Seafood company Cooke Inc. acquires Omega Protein Corporation for $500 million

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

Seafood company Cooke Inc. acquires Omega Protein Corporation for $500 million

Related tags: Omega protein, Nutrition

Century-old Omega Protein, which specializes in menhaden-derived oils for use in nutraceuticals, food fortification, and animal feeds, was bought for $500 million by Canadian fishery company Cooke.

Cooke first announced its intent to buy Houston-based Omega Protein back in October, with the sale finally announced yesterday.

Under terms of the transaction, Cooke acquired all outstanding shares of Omega Protein for $22 per share in cash, which totals to $500 million.

"The acquisition of Omega Protein will help further diversify the supply side of our business and supports our strategy of responsible growth as a leader in seafood production,"​ said Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Inc. in a press release.

The sale comes after a rocky past few years for Omega Protein. In 2015 and 2016, the company went through a bitter battle​ with activist investment firm Wynnefield Capital, which at the time owned 7.8% of the company’s shares. Wynnefield criticized Omega Protein’s diversification strategy and alleged that its rampant acquisitions of human nutrition companies was mismanaged.

Being first and foremost a fishing company with a fleet of 30 vessels in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico to harvest menhaden, a forage fish species, Omega Protein started diversifying into human nutrition in 2010 as a buffer from overly relying on a fluctuating natural resource.

Its human nutrition business had disappointing results at the end of last fiscal year​. Add to that the poor weather that hampered operations in its main fishing business at the start of this year’s summer fishing season.

Under new leadership, Cooke announced that Omega Protein’s vessels will be operated by Alpha VesselCo Holdings.

"With over 1,000 employees and a purchase price of $500 Million USD, Omega Protein is the largest acquisition in the 32-year history of Cooke,"​ Glenn Cooke added.

"We started our family-operated company in 1985 and through the hard work of our employees have grown to become a fully integrated global seafood leader offering a wide array of farmed and wild-caught products to customers around the world."

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