Historic Zacky Farms turkey business to be sold to rival firm
CHICAGO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - A Zacky Family trust has pulled its bid to buy the family owned Zacky Farms LLC out of bankruptcy, thus ending a near 100-year turkey farming business in California.
Attorneys for one of the nation's largest turkey and chicken operations filed papers on Thursday with the U.S. District Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento in which they stated the Zacky Trust on Wednesday had "decided it would not go forward with the sale at the present time."
Now, the struggling Fresno-based processor has accepted a $32.1 million back-up bid from Pitman Family Farms, court records said. Pitman is a family-owned poultry farm operation in California, and is known for its free-range line of turkeys and chickens.
The news means that the privately-held company will no longer remain in the hands of the descendants of Samuel Zacky, whose roots in the poultry industry date back in the 1920s.
Neither attorneys for Zacky Farms, nor attorneys or officials from Pitman Family Farms, could be reached for comment Friday.
Zacky Farms filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last October, blaming its economic woes in part on high feed costs following the worst drought in half a century. The company said it employs about 1,500 people in Fresno, Los Angeles, Tulare, Kings and San Joaquin counties.
It had listed between $50 million to $100 million in assets, with debts in the same range, according to court filings at the time. Company officials said in a statement last fall that entire poultry industry has been strained by historically high feed prices which led Zacky Farms to incur "significant operating losses that have depleted its liquidity and working capital position" in its chicken and turkey businesses.
At the time of its filing, Zacky Farms was the eighth poultry firm to either be sold, enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy or shut down altogether since 2011, according to data from the trade group National Chicken Council.
The case is Zacky Farms, LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California, 12-37961.
(Reporting by P.J. Huffstutter; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)