Food Safety Magazine

News | May 29, 2013

Smithfield to Be Sold to Chinese Meat Processor

Source: NY Times

Shuanghui International of China agreed on Wednesday to buy the American meat processor Smithfield Foods for about $4.7 billion, in one of the biggest moves by a Chinese company into the United States to date.

Under the terms of the deal, Shuanghui, which is the largest pork processor in China, will pay $34 a share for Smithfield, 31 percent above the company’s closing share price on Tuesday.

The deal is meant to give Smithfield, one of the world’s biggest pork producers, entryway into China. Smithfield has looked for ways to export its meat to the country, one of the biggest markets for pork, as growth in other markets has slowed.

The company eventually settled on a deal with Shuanghui, a Chinese counterpart that it has known for four years.

Shuanghui, also known as Shineway, is China’s largest pork producer and is owned in part by an investment firm run by Goldman Sachs. It has around $1.6 billion of assets and factories across China, as well as operating in other Asia countries like Japan and Korea, according to the company’s website.

The company, based in central China, is the parent company of the Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Company, which has been listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange since the late 1990s.

In 2011, Shuanghui was at the center of a meat scandal after some of its farms were found to have fed a chemical harmful to humans to livestock.

The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, is expected to close in the second half of the year.

Shares in Smithfield leaped over 25 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday, to $32.50. They have risen nearly 28 percent over the past 12 months.

Barclays and the law firms Simpson Thacher & Bartlett andMcGuire Woods are advising Smithfield Foods, while Morgan Stanley and the law firms Paul Hastings and Troutman Sanders are advising Shuanghui.