Two San Diego–based tuna companies, Bumble Bee Foods and Chicken of the Sea (which is owned by a Thailand firm, Thai Union Group), abandoned plans to merge after the Department of Justice said the merger could be anti-competitive.
The deal would have combined the second and third largest sellers of shelf-stable tuna in the United States, according to a Department of Justice news release from December 3.
The tuna market has long been dominated by three major brands. Starkist is the industry leader, with a 36 percent share of the market. Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea together account for 38 percent of the canned-tuna market, according to figures published last December, when the merger proposal was announced.
The Department of Justice, after a long study, concluded that the market is not functioning competitively now, and further consolidation would only make things worse.