Private investorsSun Capital Partners, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., has a growing appetite for refrigerated and frozen food companies.

Sun said it agreed to purchase "substantially all of the assets" ofContessa Premium Foods, Inc. through a 363 bankruptcy sale. Officials said sale was approved on June 29, 2011, by The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California. Sun said it expects to close the acquisition this month, by mid-July 2011.

Founded in 1984, Contessa, San Pedro, Calif., is a leading processor and distributor of premium seafood and frozen bagged convenience meals, officials said. Its branded and private-label offerings include frozen seafood products (most notably shrimp), as well as convenience and home-style meals, vegetable stir-fries, sauce blends, pizza and exotic fruits. In 2007, Contessa said its new Los Angeles facility represented the world's first "green" frozen food manufacturing plant .

"The Contessa management team has built a great business, centered around best-in-class food quality and environmental friendliness," said Jared Wien, vice president at Sun Capital Partners. "Contessa's already strong market position in the frozen seafood category and its state-of-the-art manufacturing and processing capabilities have enabled the company to capitalize on the growing demand for high-end frozen seafood and convenience meals. We look forward to working with management and our commercial partners to continue to develop the Contessa brand and expand our private label relationships."

Sun Capital's affiliated portfolio companies includeCreekstone Farms Premium Beef, a leading processor of the highest quality Black Angus  beef;Harry's Fresh Foods, a producer of premium home-style refrigerated foods for the retail and foodservice markets;Sunrise Growers-Frozsun, a leading value-added supplier of frozen and fresh strawberry products; as well asCaptain D's, a 535-store U.S. restaurant chain (seafood).