Daily Business Report-Dec. 4, 2015
Bumble Bee Seafoods moved in April 2014 to the former Showley Bros. Candy Factory at Petco Park.
Thai Union Group Scraps $1.5 Billion
Plan to Buy Bumble Bee Seafoods
Thai Union Group, corporate owner of Chicken of the Sea, has terminated a proposed $1.5 billion acquisition of rival firm Bumble Bee Seafoods of San Diego because it was unlikely to get approval from U.S. authorities for the deal.
Thai Union Group said it reached an agreement with UK-based private equity Lion Capital to mutually terminate the acquisition.
“We have put a lot of efforts to get this deal approved,” said Thai Union Chief Executive Thiraphong Chansiri in a statement. “However, we also recognize that the clearance is now unlikely due to a higher level of complexity in the process. We have decided to focus our energy on our existing business. Thai Union remains committed to the North American seafood market.”
Thai Union announced the acquisition of Bumble Bee Foods in December 2014.
“Over the course of last 12 months, both Thai Union and Lion Capital have advocated vigorously the merits of the deal to the U.S. Department of Justice,” said Chansiri. “However, in light of the antitrust investigation initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice on the packaged seafood industry in the United States, Thai Union and Lion Capital have concluded that the clearance is unlikely under the time stipulated in the share purchase agreement.”
The proposed acquisition required the approval of the U.S. Justice Department or Federal Trade Commission.
Thai Union Group is the world’s biggest producer of canned tuna. It has been expanding via acquisitions. In 2010 it paid $718.3 million for MW Brands, the Paris-based owner of British seafood brand John West and French brand Petit Navire. Four years later it purchased King Oscar, a Norwegian maker of canned seafood, as well as MerAlliance, a French company that produces smoked salmon. This year it bought lobster processor Orion Seafood International, based in Portsmouth, N.H.
Bumble Bee Seafoods would have added $1 billion to Thai Union’s annual sales, which were about $3.4 billion in 2014.
That growth has captured the attention of critics of the company and its suppliers. Since August, Thai Union’s American subsidiary Tri-Union Seafoods, has become a defendant in more than 60 class actions in the U.S. charging that Chicken of the Sea engaged in price fixing with American rivals. In November, Greenpeace published a report criticizing Thai Union, alleging it buys from suppliers operating in Thailand that use forced labor on their fishing boats. One Thai Union customer, Nestlé, says an internal inquiry found labor abuses aboard boats and at production facilities in its supply chain (it didn’t identify at which suppliers), and it’s implemented safeguards to stop such abuses. “The tuna industry is out of control,” says Graham Forbes, global seafood markets project leader for Greenpeace.
— From Wire Services
SDSU and Housing Commission Partner
To Provide Rental Help to Homeless Students
A unique partnership between San Diego State University and the San Diego Housing Commission will provide rental assistance to up to 100 college students who have been homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The partnership was announced Thursday by Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Councilman Todd Gloria and Housing Commission president and CEO Richard Gentry. It is one of three new initiatives of Housing First-San Diego, the Housing Commission’s three-year Homelessness Action Plan.
“Our Housing First-San Diego partnership will provide approximately $1 million to the Guardian Scholars Program, and these funds will ensure that vulnerable students can pursue their college education without worrying about how they’re going to pay for housing,” Faulconer said.
Standing outside SDSU’s Zura Hall as students made their way to class, Faulconer said the new initiative is a first-of-its kind partnership in the nation between a public housing agency and a four-year university to serve students affected by homelessness.
The Guardian Scholars Program assists students who have been homeless or at risk of homelessness, including youths aging out of foster care, under legal guardianship or wards of the state.
In rhw second year of Housing First-San Diego, the Housing Commission is launching a pilot project to provide federal rental housing vouchers to 25 families who have at least one child enrolled at the Monarch School in Barrio Logan, which is one of only a handful of schools nationwide that specifically serve homeless children.“While securing housing is just the first step out of homelessness, it’s our hope that this initiative’s combination of housing assistance, workforce training, case management and student education will help our families build long-term self-sufficiency,” said Monarch School CEO Erin Spiewak.
For the second year in a row, the Housing Commissionwill also award up to another $10 million to developers for the creation of permanent affordable housing for homeless veterans, seniors, individuals and families, as well as youths aging out of the foster care system, and award up to 300 Federal rental housing vouchers to address homelessness.
Sen. Marty Block Secures $6 Million
For Baccalaureate Pilot Program
State Sen. Marty Block (D-39) announced Thursday that $6 million has been secured to assist with the start-up costs for California’s historic Baccalaureate Pilot Program. The funding will support the establishment of one new bachelor’s degree program at 15 California community colleges.
Block made the announcement at San Diego Mesa College, which launched its four-year program in Health Information Management in August.
Block presented a check for $350,000 to San Diego Mesa College President Pamela T. Luster, which is the amount each of the 15 pilot colleges will receive to assist with hiring faculty, program development, and other costs. The balance of the $6 million will support the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office with overall management of the program.
“My bill creating the pilot allowing community colleges to offer four-year degrees will be a game changer for California students and the state’s workforce,” Block said. “Securing support for the pilot will help ensure its success and that we can meet an expected need of 1 million more adults with baccalaureate degrees by 2030.”
Block authored Senate Bill 850 in 2014, establishing California’s community college baccalaureate pilot program. Since then, he has worked as a member of the Senate Budget Committee to secure start-up funding. Participating colleges will offer bachelor’s degree programs in career-technical fields such as dental hygiene, automotive technology, biomanufacturing and airframe manufacturing technology. None of these programs are offered at the California State University or University of California.
SoCal Edison Fined $16.7 Million
For Secret Meetings with Regulators
City News Service
Southern California Edison was slapped with a $16.7 million fine Thursday by the California Public Utilities Commission for failing to report secret talks between Edison executives and regulators following the shuttering of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
Between March 26, 2013 and June 17, 2014, Edison engaged in eight unreported communications, violating their rules of practice and procedure, the CPUC said.
The talks related to the payment of the costs for the January 2012 shutdown of the power plant, according to media reports.
The fine stems from communication between former commission President Michael Peevey and Edison’s the-executive vice president for external relations, Stephen Pickett, during an industry meeting in Warsaw, Poland, the report said.
“The acts and omissions of Edison and its employees, which misled the CPUC, showed disrespect for the CPUC’s rules, and undermined public confidence in the CPUC,” the commission said.
Edison also was ordered by the commission to develop a public website that tracks all the non-public individual communications related to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station investigation.
Edison said in a statement they were disappointed with the CPUC’s decision. “The decision reinforces the need for clearer ex parte rules and we support comprehensive reform of those rules,” SCE President Pedro Pizarro said. “We have already strengthened internal procedures to ensure our employees understand their obligation to adhere to the highest ethical standards when interacting with the CPUC.”
CHANGE OF COMMAND
Joe Schloss was a North Park Little League Legend
Joe Schloss coached Little League baseball in North Park for 60 years and the man had his pet peeves. Unless you played catcher, baseball hats were not to be flipped backward.
Recalled Barbara Schloss, Joe’s wife of 63 years, “He said, ‘This is not MTV. This is baseball. Turn your hat around.’”
He once stopped a game when one of his players stood on first base, hat turned backward.
“Are you a criminal,” barked Schloss, “or are you a baseball player?”
One of the most beloved people to ever walk about North Park, Schloss died Nov. 25 after battling lung cancer. He was 88.
In May, Schloss was honored by the City of San Diego for his 60 years of Little League service. The San Diego Chicken paid his respects.
Little League named Schloss California Manager of the Year in 1994. In 2005, he threw out the first pitch at a Little League World Series game in Williamsport, Pa.
The recognitions were nice, but what Schloss loved the most was being on the field, talking baseball, influencing players.
— San Diego Union-Tribune