Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith says if Tyson’s proposed acquisition of Hillshire Brands is approved, the combined company will focus on U.S. markets during the early years. However, Smith does see long-term opportunities in international markets.

Smith, during a June 9 interview with CNBC, addressed leading poultry processor Tyson Foods’ proposed plan to purchase meat products company Hillshire Brands for a price of $8.55 billion. The potential Hillshire Brands acquisition has yet to be approved by Hillshire.

If the deal is approved, Hillshire Brands, whose product line includes Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, State Fair and Sara Lee, would become a part of Tyson Foods’ Prepared Foods Division.


“Our Prepared Foods product portfolio doesn’t expand its reach beyond the U.S.,” said Smith. “We do see an opportunity over time to create an international reach, but for the first three or four years we’ll be concentrating on developing all the opportunities we have in this combination here domestically.

No job cuts planned

Smith also addressed with CNBC the synergies between Hillshire Brands and Tyson Foods that will help a combined company operate efficiently. When asked how many jobs would have to be eliminated in order to make the merger feasible, Smith said there are no current plans to cut any and that the combined company would instead make the most of opportunities in purchasing and operational efficiencies.

“This is not about cutting heads. This is about combining these two businesses and creating those opportunities through the way the business operates,” said Smith.