Cooke signs agreement to acquire Omega Protein for around $500m


Cooke, the Canada-based parent company of Cooke Aquaculture, has signed a definitive agreement with the nutritional product company Omega Protein to acquire all its outstanding shares for $22 per share in cash.

The $500m deal has been approved by the board of directors of the two companies.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of this year or by early next year. It is subject to the approval of Omega Protein stockholders, as well as certain regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

Cooke CEO Glenn Cooke said: "Omega Protein will provide us with another platform in Cooke's growth strategy through further diversification in the supply side of the business.

“We believe this will be a very good fit between our two cultures.

"Omega Protein has a 100-year history with an experienced and dedicated workforce, which we value, and a tradition of operating in small, coastal towns and communities that we share.

“Their focus on sustainable aquaculture and agriculture and the production of healthy food is also a great fit with our experience and culture."

"Omega Protein will provide us with another platform in Cooke's growth strategy through further diversification in the supply side of the business."

Omega Protein develops healthy products to improve nutritional integrity of foods, dietary supplements, and animal feeds.

It operates seven manufacturing facilities in the US, Canada, and Europe. It also operates more than 30 vessels to harvest menhaden, a fish found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

The Cooke family of companies includes global aquaculture divisions under Cooke and its wholly owned subsidiary Cooke Aquaculture, as well as a Canadian aquaculture division operated by its affiliate, Kelly Cove Salmon.

The Cooke family of companies also includes seafood divisions under Cooke Seafood USA and Icicle Seafoods.

Omega Protein president and CEO Bret Scholtes said: “Cooke is a family owned company and, in many ways, reminds us a lot of ourselves. Cooke is a highly regarded and responsible leader in the global fishing and seafood industry."

For this transaction, JP Morgan Securities is serving as the exclusive financial advisor to Omega Protein and provided a fairness opinion to its board of directors, while Vinson and Elkins is acting as a legal counsel to Omega Protein.