Shuanghui International Holdings is expected to close on the purchase of U.S. pork processor Smithfield Foods on September 26. The transaction is to be completed after Smithfield shareholders overwhelmingly passed a strategic combination of the two companies during a special meeting on September 24.
Shareholders of Smithfield, the world's largest pig producer and pork processor, agreed to sell the company to Chinese meat processor Shuanghui International, with more than 96 percent of the votes cast in favor, which represents about 76 percent of Smithfield's total outstanding shares of common stock. The transaction was valued at about $7.1 billion, including debt.
Under the agreement, Shuanghui International, China's largest meat processor, would assume ownership of Smithfield, the world's largest pig producer and pork processor, headquartered in Smithfield, Va. The deal was initially announced on May 29.
"We are pleased with the outcome of the vote and thank all of our shareholders for their support," said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield. "This is a great transaction for all Smithfield stakeholders, as well as for American farmers and U.S. agriculture. The partnership is all about growth, and about doing more business at home and abroad. It will remain business as usual - only better - at Smithfield, and we look forward to embarking on this new chapter."
According to the agreement, Smithfield shareholders will receive $34 per share in cash for each share of Smithfield common stock that they own. Upon closing of the transaction, Smithfield's common stock will cease to be publicly traded and the company will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shuanghui International Holdings Limited, operating as Smithfield Foods. Subject to customary closing conditions, the company expects to complete the combination by September 26.
The deal did not come without opposition, as Starboard Value, owner of 5.7 percent of Smithfield's stock, advocated a breakup of Smithfield and claimed it could find other buyers that would bring more profit to Smithfield shareholders. However, an alternative bid never materialized.
Starboard Value, the activist investor that has advocated a breakup of Smithfield since June, was unable to offer an alternative to Shuanghui's offer, according to a Sept. 20 filing. In the absence of another bid, Starboard planned to vote in favor of Shuanghui's offer.