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Tyson Foods: not your father’s chicken company

Tyson Foods
Courtesy Tyson Foods
April 26, 2017

Tyson Foods is a $37 billion in sales company producing 1 in 5 pounds of U.S. chicken, beef and pork, and still growing with a $4.2 billion deal in the works to acquire AdvancePierre Foods.

AdvancePierre, with $1.6 billion in revenues, is a leading national producer of ready-to-eat lunch and dinner sandwiches, sandwich components and snacks, with product categories that are expected to be complementary to Tyson’s current offerings.

Tom Hayes, president and CEO, told analysts, “This transaction is about growth. We believe that Tyson is the right home for AdvancePierre to continue to expand its distribution footprint and nurture even greater brand loyalty for its products. With Tyson's world-class manufacturing and distribution footprint, our ability to source inputs and some duplicative corporate overhead, we should expect synergies of approximately $200 million to be realized within three years.”

Referencing his taking over as Tyson’s top executive in 2016, Hayes said, “As this is our first acquisition and transaction as a new leadership team, I wanted to restate the acquisition strategy as we laid out recently in how this acquisition of AdvancePierre fits within it. Pretty simply, we are focused on value-added protein-packed foods.”

A look back at Tyson's transition to consumer foods company

Tyson Foods has made astounding strides in transitioning from a chicken production company to a consumer foods company. One might arguably say that Tyson is no longer the same company. But that progress is built on the vision and work of succeeding generations of leaders, including people like Leland Tollett, Donald “Buddy” Wray, current Chairman John Tyson, and more recently, Donnie Smith and Donnie King, to name but a few. Mr. Hayes is the latest.

On the company’s website is a timeline worthy of a look. It records Tyson’s remarkable achievements and talks about the company’s enduring culture. One of the time frames is about Tyson’s tremendous growth in the 1980s, and quotes the company’s legendary leader Don Tyson: “We say it in three words: segment, concentrate and dominate. We find something we think we can do, focus on it and then aim to be No. 1 at it. Most of the product categories we dominate are things we started.”

And under the heading of “Valuing Up!” it chronicles how, in 1980, Tyson Foods introduced Tyson Chick’n Quick fully-cooked breaded chicken products to the retail market. There are many other innovations and business achievements recorded there, including the acquisition in 2001 of IBP.

Today, Chairman John Tyson might justifiably say, "This is my father’s protein company."

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