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Bumble Bee Foods files for bankruptcy, plans to sell assets to Taiwan company for $925 million

Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY
FILE - This Oct. 15, 2012 file photo shows the front of the Bumble Bee tuna processing plant in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee are calling off their planned merger after the Obama administration told the companies it would hurt competition in the U.S. canned tuna market. The Justice Department announced Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 that the deal announced a year ago between Thailand’s largest seafood company and Bumble Bee Foods of the U.S. has been called off. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

One of the nation's best-known tuna brands has filed for bankruptcy.

San Diego-based Bumble Bee Foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware on Thursday and announced it has agreed to sell the company's assets to Taiwan-based FCF Co. Ltd. for $925 million.

“It’s been a challenging time for our company but today’s actions allow us to move forward with minimal disruption to our day-to-day operations,” Jan Tharp, Bumble Bee president and CEO, said in a news release. “We have an experienced leadership team in place and plan to transform our business in bold and innovative ways that will build a legacy worthy of our proud 120-year-old history.”

The company said it has "received new financing commitments from its existing lenders that will provide sufficient liquidity" to fund the business through the closing of the sale, which could happen within 60 to 90 days.

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The bankruptcy comes more than two years after the company pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix the cost of canned and pouched tuna. The company agreed to pay a $25 million criminal fine over five years as part of a plea agreement with the Department of Justice.

According to court records, $17 million of the fine remains outstanding and the company is facing other legal expenses.

The company sells canned and pouched tuna, salmon, sardines, and specialty seafood products under the Bumble Bee, Brunswick, Sweet Sue, Snow’s, Beach Cliff and Wild Selections brands.

Another well-known household name also is going through bankruptcy proceedings. 

Dairy giant Dean Foods filed for Chapter 11 on Nov. 12 as declining milk sales take a toll on the industry.

Dean Foods – whose more than 50 brands include Dean's, Land O' Lakes and Country Fresh – said it intends to continue operating and that it has lined up a sale.

Follow Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bumble Bee bankruptcy: Tuna brand planning to sell assets for $925M