Cooke Inc. has entered into a binding purchase agreement to acquire Slade Gorton, one of the largest distributors, importers and producers of frozen and fresh seafood in the United States. Closing of the transaction is expected to take place in the coming weeks, and terms of the deal have not been disclosed as both companies are private, family-owned businesses.
Headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, Slade Gorton maintains a storied legacy and a heritage spanning over 95 years in the seafood industry. The enterprise was founded in 1928 by Thomas Slade Gorton, Jr., who began as an apprentice aboard schooners fishing on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, Canada. His son, Michael Gorton, Sr., headed up the business for over five decades. In recent years fifth generation family members Kim Gorton and brother Mike Gorton Jr. assumed leadership positions as chief executive officer and executive vice president for business development, respectively. Both will remain in their roles under Cooke ownership.
Kim Gorton (pictured above at right with Cooke CEO Glenn Cooke), commenting on the acquisition, stated: “Over nearly a century, Slade Gorton has built a robust and resilient world class supply chain in support of our family’s passion for making sustainable seafood accessible to everyone. As the world has evolved during the past several years, it became clear that to accelerate our mission and impact, it made sense to join forces with a diverse, vertically integrated company run by people who share our family values and vision for reshaping the consumer’s experience with seafood. There could be no better fit than Glenn Cooke and the incredible global company his team is building. We are excited to join forces with the Cooke family of companies to take the Gorton family’s legacy forward.”
Slade Gorton currently offers more than 800 premium seafood products and maintains long-standing partnerships with hundreds of foodservice and retail customers in North America.
“Cooke and Slade Gorton share a passion for ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to enjoy delicious, nutritious and sustainable seafood whether dining at home or in a restaurant,” said Glenn Cooke, chief executive officer of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada-headquartered Cooke Inc. “We will build on the expertise, innovation, and deep commitment to its customers’ success that Slade Gorton is so well-respected for. Working together with the True North Seafood sales team and leveraging Cooke’s global infrastructure and reach, we will help support our customers in increasing consumption of seafood in North America.”
With 4,000 employees and distribution locations coast to coast across the United States, Cooke offers a fully vertically integrated seafood harvesting, processing, sales, and distribution network to provide wholesale and retail customers with premium frozen and fresh seafood.