Paine & Partners exits Icicle Seafoods

The acquisition by the Cooke group marks the second attempt by P&P to sell off the seafood company, after a previous agreement fell through last autumn.

Agri-focused private equity firm Paine & Partners has exited its investment in Icicle Seafoods for an undisclosed sum.

The firm has sold Icicle’s three business units, which harvest and process more than 150,000 tonnes of seafood a year, to the family owned Cooke group, pending regulatory and legal matters expected to conclude in the next 30 days.

Paine & Partners previously had an agreement to sell the company to Convergence Holdings and Dominion Catchers in June 2015. However, the deal was scuttled three months later for undisclosed reasons.

The acquisition supports Canada-based Cooke’s vertical integration strategy and allows the company to scale up sales of farmed and wild seafood along its distribution chain. It will boost the group’s seafood production to more than 275,000 tonnes annually and push sales up to a projected $1.8 billion a year.

Icicle Seafoods chief executive Christopher Ruettgers said, “The partnership with Cooke means access to capital to further modernise our platform, expanded market access for the products harvested by our fleets and a broader product offering for our customer base.”

Icicle Foods was formed by investment funds managed by private equity firm Fox Paine III, now known as Paine & Partners, and purchased outright by the firm in 2007. The Seattle-based company has operations in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Japan and Chile.

Paine & Partners focuses on complex investment opportunities in the fast-growing, dynamic global food and agribusiness sectors. Its private equity funds include Paine & Partners Capital Fund III which closed with $1.2 billion in 2007.

Paine & Partners Capital Fund IV, closed in 2014, nearly $100 million over its target. It garnered $893 million of commitments. The fund has made three acquisitions and deployed roughly 20 percent of its committed capital.