The World Is Not Always Your Oyster

It was a tragic ending to a story that began hopefully. Bangkok-based Unicord PLC, one of the world's biggest fish processors, spent $280 million in 1989 to buy Bumble Bee Seafood Inc., a San Diego tuna canner whose name is known around the globe. Combining Unicord's clout in supplying fish from Asian waters with the world's No.3 tuna brand seemed like a brilliant stroke of vertical integration. But by this year, a potent combination of marketing mistakes, some $200 million in acquisition debt, and bad luck had driven Unicord founder Dumri Kornanthakiat to despair. Bank creditors were beating down the door, competitors were matching his every price move, and Bumble Bee was still in the red. On June 13, 43-year-old Dumri committed suicide, shooting himself in his Bangkok office. His company is now on the block.

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