Food group behind Young's Seafood is sold to Canada-based Sofina Foods

A food group which includes the famous Young’s Seafood business has been sold to one of Canada’s largest food producers.

CapVest acquired Karro Food Group, a major UK pork processor, in 2017. CapVest and management subsequently acquired Young’s Seafood in 2019 to create Eight Fifty Food Group.

Funds managed by CapVest Partners LLP an international private equity firm, have agreed the sale of Eight Fifty Food Group to Sofina Foods Inc, a Canadian multi-protein producer, for an undisclosed consideration.

CapVest acquired Karro Food Group, a major UK pork processor, in 2017. CapVest and management subsequently acquired Young’s Seafood in 2019 to create Eight Fifty Food Group.

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Eight Fifty later consolidated five other protein businesses from across Europe to create a major European multi-protein specialist. Eight Fifty is a supplier of both branded and own-label seafood and pork.

The pork division is one of the largest processors and suppliers of products across the UK and Ireland. The seafood division is the largest provider of chilled and frozen products across the UK, including the Young’s brand, and is a major player in frozen seafood across Germany and France.

The group employs around 8,300 people, across 23 manufacturing sites. The business will remain under the leadership of Di Walker and will complement Sofina Food’s existing leading North American platform

Di Walker, the CEO of Eight Fifty, said: “We began this journey as a UK-only pork supplier doing less than £500 million in sales and after several years of transformational organic and acquisitive progress are now the European multi-protein specialist with over £2 billion in sales.

“This transaction and the interest in Eight Fifty is a great reflection on the quality of the business and testament to the work that CapVest and our entire management team have completed.

“We’re very excited to join Sofina Foods to deliver on their ambitious future growth plans.”

Michael Latifi, the founder and executive chairman of Sofina Foods, said: “As a leading Canadian multi-protein specialist, this acquisition allows Sofina Foods to continue on our path of ambitious expansion.

"Sofina Foods is one of Canada’s largest food producers and we have created a solid global foundation for continued growth. With a history of excellence in food production and processing spanning over 25 years, the strong brands of Eight Fifty Food Group align perfectly with our prominent brands and our shared future vision.”

The new company will have over 13,000 employees globally across 44 sites.

CapVest and management received financial advice from Jefferies, JP Morgan and Rothschild & Co, legal advice from Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Walker Morris, and financial and tax due diligence services from KPMG.

Sofina Foods received financial advice from Rabobank as the lead financial adviser and Scotiabank as the co-financial adviser. Additional advice was provided by PWC, Stikeman Elliott and Taylor Wessing.

The transaction is subject to approval from regulatory authorities.

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