Canadian seafood giant Cooke has agreed to acquire Spanish fisheries and processing multinational Nueva Pescanova.
The Canadian company will assume 80 percent of the share capital of the group currently chaired by Jose Maria Benavent and Abanca, the Spanish bank that currently owns Nueva Pescanova.
"Over the upcoming weeks, Cooke and Abanca will advance the negotiation process with the objective of reaching an agreement for the acquisition of a majority position in Nueva Pescanova," a Cooke spokesperson told IntraFish.
A similarly worded statement was published on Abanca's website.
"Over the next few weeks, the usual negotiation process for this type of transaction will progress, with the aim of reaching an agreement for the acquisition of a majority in Nueva Pescanova by one of the world's leading family-owned marine protein companies," the statement said.
The headquarters for the company will remain in Vigo, in northern Spain's Galicia.
Antarctica Advisors advised Cooke on the sale, while Rothschild & Co. advised Abanca.
The bank was allegedly offering a "blank check" to the three investors that were reportedly interested in acquiring Nueva Pescanova, including seafood companies Cooke and Red Chamber, according to an earlier report in the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial.
Sources told the newspaper that in exchange the bank is asking for offers for the company of at least €200 million ($215.7 million), plus the €500 million ($539.2 million) debt that the group carries, giving Nueva Pescanova an enterprise value of €700 million ($754.9 million).
Faro De Vigo reported on Feb. 26 that Abanca was negotiating with Cooke.
At the time, Nueva Pescanova CEO Ignacio Gonzalez Hernandez declined to comment to IntraFish. Cooke also declined to comment.
However, from the outset, Abanca's objective, in addition to injecting solidity into Nueva Pescanova, was to find a partner in the sector with the economic weight and knowledge of the sector necessary to lead the fishing group and move it forward, according to La Voz de Galicia.
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