Starboard lines up rival buyers for Smithfield Foods acquisition
CHICAGO, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP said it was is working with investors interested in paying "substantially" more for Smithfield Foods Inc than the price China's Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd had agreed to.
Starboard, a New York-based fund that holds a 5.7 percent stake in Smithfield, said in a letter to the company's shareholders on Tuesday that it had received "nonbinding written indications of interest" from other parties willing to pay more than the $34 per share cash deal proposed by Shuanghui.
While the counter-proposal was not completed, the hedge fund said it planned to vote against the Smithfield-Shuanghui merger later this month in order to buy more time to get such a bid finalized.
Virginia-based Smithfield, the world's largest pork producer, has scheduled a special shareholder meeting on Sept. 24 to vote on the proposed acquisition by Shuanghui. The deal, struck in May and valued then at about $7.1 billion including debt, would be the biggest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese one.
Smithfield could not be immediately reached for comment about the shareholder letter on Tuesday morning.
Shares of Smithfield were up 0.5 percent at $33.71 in morning trading.