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Clearwater Rejects Cooke Aquaculture's Bid

CANADA - Clearwater Seafoods has formally rejected a takeover bid of $97 million from privately-owned salmon farmer Cooke Aquaculture as it is too low.

The Halifax-based seafood provider said it believes the $3.50 per unit offer which values Clearwater at around $97 million didn't adequately reflect the value of the company and its future prospects.

Cooke, which already holds 20.2 per cent of Clearwater units and 10.9 per cent of voting rights, made its approach in August. Three days later, Clearwater unveiled a unitholder rights plan to fend off the bid.

Clearwater is currently in the process of transforming itself from an income fund to a publicly traded corporation and is in the process of a $15 million upgrade of its fleet harvesting and plant processing capabilities.

The seafood company has 1,600 employees, around 20 vessels, seven plants and offices in Toronto, Europe, China, Japan, Europe and the United States. The company is known for its lobster products but also harvests scallops, clams, shrimp, crab and other ocean fish.

Cooke Aquaculture has 2,500 employees at salmon operations in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Maine, Chile and Spain. It processes and sells more than 115 million pounds of Atlantic salmon and 35 million pounds of trout each year, generating more than $500 million in sales.

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