Is Smithfield Still for Sale?

The Smithfield Deal: Update

We reported back in mid-July that Shuanghui Group, a Chinese based conglomerate had plans (as of May 2013) to purchase Smithfield Foods, the dominant player in the U.S. pork production and processing market. What’s the state of this deal?

The purchase has now been cleared. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry released a statement on this matter September 6. From her press release:

The acquisition, which represents the largest-ever purchase of an American company by a Chinese company, was approved through a review process conducted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Because this review includes issues of national security, it is done in secret with no public oversight or transparency.

Even though CFIUS has permitted the sale, the deal still needs to be approved by Smithfield shareholders. Moreover, it’s possible Shuanghui Group will lose its opportunity; the investor group Starboard Value, which already owns a small percentage of Smithfield, has announced it is preparing to offer more than Shuanghui and has asked the Smithfield board to delay the September 24 vote on acquisition.

What are the potential implications of this sale for agriculture in the U.S.? Read Stabenow’s opinion piece here. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition offers its analysis here.

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