WASHINGTON (AP) – The Justice Department’s antitrust division has reached a settlement to allow the proposed acquisition of fish processor Bumble Bee Seafoods LLP by Connors Bros. Income Fund, the world’s biggest producer of canned sardines.

Under the settlement announced Tuesday, Connors Bros., based in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick, will divest its Port Clyde, Nova Scotia, sardine snack business, preserving competition in that market, said R. Hewitt Pate, assistant attorney general for the antitrust division.

“Without the divestiture, the acquisition would have consolidated all four mainstream sardine snack brands and created a near monopoly in sardine snack products,” Pate said.

Connors has processor plants in New Brunswick and Maine and its own fishing fleet. Bumble Bee, based in San Diego, produces canned tuna, salmon and other seafood products. When the deal was announced in February, Bumble Bee was valued at about $385 million.

The settlement must be approved by a federal judge in Washington.

On the Net:

Bumble Bee announcement: http://www.bumblebee.com/pressroom(underscore)article5.jsp

AP-ES-08-31-04 1742EDT

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