Saturday, June 23, 2018
Business

Controversial seafood supplier buys $575 million stake in Red Lobster

ORLANDO — Controversial seafood supplier Thai Union has bought a $575 million stake in Orlando-based Red Lobster, the companies announced Monday.

Red Lobster and owner Golden Gate Capital said Thai Union bought a minority stake in the 700-restaurant seafood chain.

"Their investment underscores the confidence they have in our business and our team, both here in Orlando and in our restaurants across the country," Red Lobster CEO Kim Lopdrup said in a statement to the Orlando Sentinel. "Red Lobster has great growth potential, and the ability to leverage Thai Union's global presence and expertise, along with the support of our majority owner Golden Gate Capital, will position us for continued long-term success."

In the deal, Thai Union paid $230 million for a 25 percent stake in the company, as well as $345 million for a 24 percent stake that it will be able to convert in 10 years, according to documents filed with the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Red Lobster had $2.479 billion in sales for the 12-month period that ended in August, the documents showed. It had an operating profit of $144 million.

Thai Union came under scrutiny in 2015 when an Associated Press investigation tied the supplier to slavery in Southeast Asian fishing waters and at factories. Thai Union said it cut ties with contractors accused of using slave labor. The Associated Press won the Pulitzer Prize in public service reporting for the investigation.

Thai Union is the world's largest seafood supplier and the owner of seafood brands including Chicken of the Sea, King Oscar, John West and Petit Navire.

"Thai Union's investment is a testament to the great progress Red Lobster has made and the tremendous growth potential ahead," Golden Gate Capital managing director Josh Olshansky said in a statement. "Red Lobster has fantastic momentum, as the company has increased profitability each year since Golden Gate's acquisition and guest satisfaction is at an all-time high."

Darden sold Red Lobster under pressure in July 2014 for $2.1 billion. Golden Gate Capital immediately sold Red Lobster's real estate assets for $1.5 billion.

The $575 million investment price would mean that Red Lobster is worth about $920 million, according to Thai Union's valuation.

Red Lobster is headquartered in downtown Orlando. It has 58,000 employees nationwide.

The company will continue to use the same suppliers, Red Lobster spokeswoman Nicole Bott said, particularly on things such as lobster.

Comments
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Published: 06/22/18
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Published: 06/22/18
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Here’s an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the world’s electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Published: 06/22/18
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Published: 06/22/18
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Published: 06/22/18
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18