Tyson Foods won the bidding war for Hillshire Brands with an all-cash offer that values the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages at $8.55 billion and would be the biggest deal yet for the global meat business.
Tyson, the largest U.S. meat processor, on Monday announced an agreement to buy Hillshire for $63 per share. That topped last week's $55 bid from Pilgrim's Pride, which is majority owned by Brazilian meatpacking giant JBS.
The high-stakes battle for Hillshire, which also sells Ball Park hot dogs, Jimmy Dean frozen breakfast sandwiches and Aidells artisan sausages,underscores how urgently large commodity meat companies want to gobble up popular, and more profitable, brands.
"We want to buy this business for what it can become, not just for what it is now. Great brands like Hillshire, Jimmy Dean and Ball Park just don't come available very often,'' Tyson Chief Executive Donnie Smith said on a conference call with reporters.
"We determined that it was in the best interests of our shareholders not to increase our proposed price,'' Pilgrim's said in a statement on Monday. Pilgrim's $45 per share offer on May 27 sparked the bidding war.