June 19, 2008 / 11:02 PM / 11 years ago

S.Korea Dongwon to buy StarKist for $300 mln-paper

SEOUL, June 20 (Reuters) - South Korean food group Dongwon is expected to buy StarKist seafood business from Del Monte Foods Co DLM.N for around $300 million, Maeil Business Newspaper reported on Friday.

Del Monte said in May it was exploring alternatives for StarKist including a possible sale. StarKist, acquired by Del Monte in 2002, has weighed on Del Monte’s profits in recent quarters as the cost of skipjack tuna has soared.

Maeil said several Dongwon Group companies including fishery unit Dongwon Industries Co (006040.KS) and food company Dongwon F&B Co Ltd (049770.KS) will buy 100 percent of StarKist, including debt. It did not cite any sources.

Dongwon F&B has about 75 percent of South Korea’s tuna can market and plans to expand abroad, Maeil said.

Officials at Dongwon Group and Dongwon F&B could not be reached immediately for comment. (Reporting by Rhee So-eui; Additional reporting by Park Ju-min, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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