Regulators Clear JBS Purchase of Pilgrim''s Pride

October 14, 2009 07:00 PM

Pro Farmer Editors

The acquisition of poultry firm Pilgrim's Pride by the JBS Swift company has been approved by the Justice Dept. and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

The plan first emerged in September and would see JBS buy a 64 percent stake in Pilgrim's Price for $800 million. The chicken firm is in bankruptcy and the deal still needs approval from a bankruptcy court which is expected to come in December.

JBS stands as the world's largest beef producer and the number-three producer of hogs and the deal marks its first foray into the poultry industry. Reports say JBS will not be required to divest any assets with the purchase of Pilgrim's Pride.

"Today is an exciting day for JBS and Pilgrim's Pride," JBS president and CEO Wesley Batista said. "With today's decision by the U.S. Department of Justice, JBS has been granted the opportunity to enter into the U.S. poultry industry pending approval from the bankruptcy court. As a successful U.S. beef and pork company, we believe we are well-positioned to bring that same competitive energy to Pilgrim's Pride, its employees and customers."

Pilgrim's operates 31 chicken processing plants -- 28 mostly in the southern portion of the United States and three in Mexico -- and eight prepared-foods plants. Five additional processing plants and three prepared-foods plants are currently idle.

Some note the plan also gives JBS an important entry into the lucrative food service market.


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