SantaMonica Seafood, Rancho Dominguez, Calif., signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire most of the seafood division assets of Prospect Enterprises, Inc., a Los Angeles-based seafood processor and distributor. The acquisition includes companies doing business as American Fish & Seafood, Chesapeake Fish, LA Fish Co. and Cactus Cove. The transaction does not include Kansas Marine, Prospect Enterprises’ cruise line support business and Central Fish Co., a Fresno, Calif., retail store.

“American Fish has 68 years of operating history with a well-established reputation for supplying high-quality seafood,” says Roger O’Brien, chief executive officer of Santa Monica Seafood. “Ernie Doizaki, chairman of Prospect Enterprises, has been a pioneer and role model for seafood business success for decades in the California foodservice industry. Ernie trusts us with the legacy he has created, and we are accepting the challenge and responsibility of continuing the legacy he has so well established.”

Santa Monica Seafood will assume and maintain American Fish’s facilities and operations in Arizona and Sacramento, Chesapeake Fish’s San Diego, Calif., facility and LA Fish Co.’s Los Angeles operations. American Fish’s Los Angeles seafood division will be relocated to Santa Monica Seafood’s 120,000-square-foot facility in Rancho Dominguez.

“This transaction will bring together the two largest and the two most highly regarded seafood distributors in the southwestern U.S.,” adds O’Brien. “I know we will learn from them and they will learn from us. Our goal is to end up with the ‘best of both companies’ in terms of our quality, our responsible sourcing, our food safety, our service and our leadership support within the seafood industry.”

“While this is a huge transaction for both companies, our goal is to make this as seamless as possible to our joint customer base,” says Anthony Cigliano, board chairman and president of Santa Monica Seafood. “In that regard, our intent is to maintain the operations and employees at Chesapeake Fish, LA Fish and American Fish in Arizona and Sacramento while we quickly integrate American Fish’s Los Angeles operations into our facility in Rancho Dominguez. We are very hopeful that many of the employees ofAmerican Fish in Los Angeles will want to join us in Rancho Dominguez where we have the space and the need for good workers.”

“Santa Monica Seafood’s core philosophy has always been ‘Quality in Everything.’ American Fish, Chesapeake Fish and LA Fish are known for quality people, quality service and quality fish. This is a good marriage of two companies,” says Michael Cigliano, executive vice president of Santa Monica Seafood. “American Fish has been around for 68 years and Santa Monica Seafood has been here for 76 years. Both companies have the history, the experience and the knowledge to continue as the preeminent seafood distributor in the southwestern United States.”

The transaction is targeted to close July 4.