John West has been sold to Thailand’s largest producer of canned tuna in a deal worth £568m.

Thai Union Frozen Products takes over John West and parent MW Brands from their private equity owner, Trilantic Capital Partners. As part of the deal, Thai Union also gains control of continental fish brands Mareblu, Parmentier and Petite Navire.

Trilantic – formerly part of defunct investment giant Lehman Brothers – put MW up for sale in April, when a price tag of £400m was mooted. It acquired the Liverpool-based tuna brand in 2006 from Heinz, which bought it from Unilever in 1997.

John West employs 67 staff in the UK and notched up annual sales of £153.9m in 2009. Earlier this year the 140-year-old company announced plans to extend its No Drain innovation across its entire range of tuna.

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John West prepares to extend No Drain to entire tuna range (22 May 2010)
John West parent MW Brands set for sale (20 April 2010)