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Icicle Seafoods being sold to private equity firm

ALASKA - Seattle-based Icicle Seafoods, one of Alaska's largest seafood processing plants, is being sold to a private equity firm in California, company executives said.

Icicle Seafoods has peak seasonal employment of about 2,200 people, and with annual revenue of about $300 million it is one of the top processors of Alaska salmon, halibut, pollock and crab.

Fox Paine Management III, an investment firm based near San Francisco, has agreed to purchase the company for an undisclosed price. The deal is still subject to regulatory and stockholder approval, but officials said they hoped to complete the sale within 90 days.

"It's a good opportunity for the company to grow a lot faster than it otherwise would have, and it's also a way to liquidate some of our long-term shareholders," said Don Giles, Icicle's president. "We've got a lot of things we want to do in Alaska and other places."

He said the management will be staying on to run the company, which will benefit from the extra financial clout Fox Paine will offer.

The Icicle sale comes at the busiest time of the year for the company, which runs a heavily seasonal operation. It operates plants in Alaska at Bristol Bay, Seward, Kodiak's Larsen Bay and Petersburg. The company also operates a processing plant in Bellingham, and it recently began farming salmon and trout in Chile.

Source: The Seattle Times