Wayne Farms and Sanderson Farms to merge

Cargill  and Continental Grain Company have reached an agreement to form a joint venture and acquire Sanderson Farms for $4.53 billion or $203 per share.

Roy Graber Headshot
(Sanderson Farms)
(Sanderson Farms)

Cargill and Continental Grain Company have reached an agreement to form a joint venture and acquire Sanderson Farms for $4.53 billion or $203 per share. 

Continental Grain Company is the owner of Wayne Farms, and when the planned acquisition is completed, Wayne Farms and Sanderson Farms will become a combined, privately held poultry business.

According to the WATTPoultry.com Top Companies Database, Sanderson Farms is the third largest poultry company in the United States, while Wayne Farms is the seventh. Sanderson Farms produced 94.31 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis, while Wayne Farms produced 48.8 million pounds weekly.

Clint Rivers, who has served as the CEO of Wayne Farms since 2017 and is in his second year as chairman of the National Chicken Council, will lead the combined company.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2021 or early in 2022, and will be subject to regulatory and Sanderson Farms stockholder approval.

According to a press release issued by Cargill, Continental Grain and Sanderson Farms, the combination of Wayne Farms and Sanderson Farms will “create a best-in-class U.S. poultry company with a high-quality asset base, complementary operating cultures, and an industry-leading management team and workforce.”

"Since my grandfather founded Sanderson Farms 75 years ago, our many significant achievements have been driven by our commitment to providing the very best chicken products in a profitable manner that benefits each of the constituents who contribute to our success. This transaction is the culmination of that commitment, as it delivers a significant value to our stockholders, reflecting the dedication of our team, and our best-in-class assets, quality products, efficient and sustainable operations, and respected brand," said Joe Sanderson, chairman and chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms, Inc. "We are proud to be joining with Cargill and Continental Grain and we are confident that they will be strong stewards of the Sanderson Farms team, brand and assets going forward. As part of the newly created company, Sanderson Farms and its new owners will remain committed to the employees, poultry producers, customers, communities, environment, and animals under our care, and to continuing to deliver the highest quality products and the best service in our industry to our customers."

"We are very happy to partner with Cargill with whom we have had a decades-long relationship between two family-owned companies. Sanderson Farms' operations, best-in-class assets and valuable brand have underscored their success, and we have the highest respect for Joe Sanderson, and the business and team he has built as the third generation CEO," said Paul Fribourg, chairman and CEO of Continental Grain. "Wayne Farms has been one of the most important and successful parts of Continental Grain for almost 60 years, so bringing together two great partners with two great poultry companies will ensure good things for our customers, our grower partners, and our employees."

The new company will have state-of-the-art operations and will continue to invest in its workforce and in employee safety. Operations will include poultry processing plants and prepared foods plants cross Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas.

Cargill expects to support the new joint venture with its longstanding relationships with retail and foodservice customers.

"At Cargill, we are committed to nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way," said David MacLennan, chairman and CEO of Cargill. "Expanding our poultry offerings to the U.S. is a key enabler of our ability to meet customer and consumer demands. With these great businesses, and our strong partnership, we believe we will deliver a superior portfolio of products and services to our customers."

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