Insiders at Young’s Bluecrest say the business is up for sale, with Canadian company Clearwater Seafoods the most likely buyer.
Clearwater lost out in a bid for Young’s Bluecrest in March 2002 after private equity company Legal & General Ventures (LGV) put the business on the market.
One private equity expert said a sale to Clearwater now would make sense. “It has very good sourcing of fish, especially cold water fish like cod, so buying Young’s Bluecrest would give it a very good route to market.
“It would also probably be a good move for Young’s as it would give the company a bit of stability,” said the source.
“It has done extremely well under private equity but the time comes when it’s better for a business to go into trade ownership. Young’s can now afford to look at long-term opportunities with Clearwater.”
The Canadian group, which is a vertically integrated seafood company involved in harvesting, processing and distribution, indicated last month that future growth would come through consolidation.
But Young’s Bluecrest this week denied the speculation. A spokeswoman insisted: “The rumours are absolutely not true - we are not for sale and we are not even talking about it.”
Young’s Bluecrest was formed in 1999 after the merger of Young’s and Bluecrest Seafood. LGV became the major shareholder in March 2001. A year later, it sold the company to private equity company Cap-Vest and Young’s Bluecrest management for £137m.