Thai Union Group invests $575m in Red Lobster seafood restaurant chain
Thailand-based global seafood supplier Thai Union Group has made a strategic investment worth $575 million in Red Lobster, the world’s largest seafood restaurant company.
Thai Union Group for more than two decades has also been a strategic supplier of seafood to Red Lobster. Its annual sales average THB 125 billion (US$ 3.7 billion).
Despite the massive sale, Global Gate Capital has retained ownership of the majority stake and will continue overseeing the operations of Red Lobster.
Thiraphong Chansiri, CEO of Thai Union Group while calling Red Lobster an iconic brand said: “This investment marks a strategic step to build Thai Union’s direct-to-consumer channel, and will enable us to benefit from the extensive restaurant industry expertise of both the Red Lobster management team and Golden Gate.”
The American casual dining restaurant chain founded in 1968 and in 2014, its founding company Darden Restaurants sold it off to an Francisco-based private equity investment firm Global Gate Capital for about $2.1 billion in cash.
On the strategic sale to Thai Union Group, Kim Lopdrup, CEO of Red Lobster said: “This close partnership will help accelerate Red Lobster’s strategy of being the best seafood specialist in every trade area we serve, bringing guests ‘sea-to-table’ quality seafood and a best-in-class dining experience at affordable prices.”
Thai Union Group on the other hand has been in business for around 40 years building its product portfolio of a range of seafood offerings that include lobster, sardines, shrimp, tuna, mackerel, crab and salmon.
Some of its seafood brands that are shipped outside Thailand include Chicken of the Sea, John West, Petit Navire and King Oscar.
The seafood supplier has facilities across twelve countries that function as its sourcing, production and distribution networks.
There are more than 700 Red Lobster restaurants spread across the US and Canada, employing about 58,000 people.