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Finally, we have a Tyson. Can Cooke keep it together?

The Canadian company now oversees a sprawling beast of a company. Let's see if its management skill can match its appetite.

It's taken a long time, a lot of ambition, and a healthy dose of risk, but the seafood sector finally has a "Tyson."

With last week's acquisition of Honduran shrimp farmer Seajoy, Cooke has crossed a threshold that nobody has so far.

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The idea of a multi-national, multi-species farmed and wild producing conglomerate has long been a dream for the industry, but despite sitting on piles of cash (as many of our dear readers do), nobody has dared venture too much out of their comfort zone.

From Trident Seafoods to Mowi (Marine Harvest), seafood companies have played it relatively safe, either sticking within their core species, core geographies, or both.

Even the Japanese giants such as Nissui and Maruha Nichiro have operated their companies in very separate silos with very separate management philosophies, to ensure all its eggs are not in one basket.

Maybe the closest example, Thai Union, for all its consolidation and expansion, still remains mainly a producer of consumer-facing brands.

"No company has ever come close to the kind of diversity in species or geography as Cooke. There may be a reason for that."

Can Cooke make it work?

The company now has operations spanning the globe, from Uruguay to Alaska, Chile to Spain, Scotland to its home base of Canada. Here's a short list of the companies that have been brought into the fold: Atlantic Salmon of Maine, Heritage Salmon, Stolt Sea Farm, Icicle Seafoods, Wanchese, Fripur, Salmones Cupquelan, Culmarex, Omega Protein.

No company has ever come close to the kind of diversity in species or geography as Cooke. There may be a reason for that.

Tyson itself couldn't even make a Tyson of seafood. The company got into the seafood industry in 1992 with the acquisition of Arctic Alaska Fisheries Corp. If that name doesn't sound familiar, it's because Tyson fell flat on its face, spinning off its $214 million (€188.7 million) operation to Trident and Bumble Bee in 1999.

What makes Cooke think it can do better? Well, Cooke is a family-owned operation, and that means no ticking quarterly earnings clock. Its investments can be for the long haul. And it may not have the $40 billion (€35.3 billion) in revenue that Tyson does -- yet -- but you can bet the the margins are significantly better than the estimated 10 percent Tyson pulls down. That means Cooke has room to invest in its operations, or, if it needs to, bolt on more companies.

It's early days to predict where Cooke will go with its empire -- it is, after all, just over 30 years old -- but for now, it's boldly going where no seafood company has gone before.

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