Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands have entered a definitive agreement under which Tyson will acquire Hillshire Brands for $63 per share. The all-cash transaction is valued at $8.55 billion and is expected to close by September 27, the last day of Tyson Foods’ fiscal year.

The announcement of the approval of the Tyson-Hillshire merger comes one day after Pinnacle Foods voted to terminate its deal with Hillshire, in which Hillshire Brands had agreed to purchase Pinnacle for $4.3 billion. As part of its agreement with Hillshire, Tyson has agreed to pay the $163 million fee associated with the termination of the Pinnacle deal. Tyson’s pending purchase of Hillshire Brands was unanimously approved by both companies’ boards.

"By investing in Hillshire Brands and its collection of leading brands, we have a unique opportunity to transform an important segment of our business, and position Tyson Foods to meet American consumers' growing demand for protein at breakfast and throughout the day," Donnie Smith, president and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods, stated in a press release. "We operate in a competitive and complex marketplace that demands bold steps to remain an industry leader. I am confident that together Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands have the right products and the right people to create years of enhanced shareholder value and ensure more choices for our customers and consumers."

The combination of Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands is expected to reposition Tyson as a clear leader in the retail sale of prepared foods, with a portfolio of well-recognized brands, including Tyson, Wright, Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, State Fair and Hillshire Farm.

"After thoughtful consideration, our board of directors concluded that a combination with Tyson Foods represents a unique opportunity to provide shareholders with significant and immediate value while also positioning our business for continued success,” said Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer of Hillshire Brands. “Importantly, this is a testament to the tremendous value our talented team of employees has created over the past few years by strengthening our brands in the eyes of consumers. I am confident that we have found an excellent partner in Tyson. We firmly believe that our combined global platform will be extremely well positioned to capitalize on the substantial growth opportunities in this market in the years ahead."

Smith added: "We are confident that the two companies can learn a great deal from each other, and we recognize that Hillshire Brands' value comes from its people, brands and processes. As we begin planning how to bring these companies together, we intend to proceed in a thoughtful manner that honors the strengths embedded in both cultures that have made each of them successful."