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Big shareholder concedes on Smithfield deal

Published September 20, 2013 9:00 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Smithfield Foods Inc.'s largest shareholder says it will vote in favor of a proposed takeover by a Chinese meat producer after failing to find an alternative bidder.

Starboard Value LP had said earlier this month that it would vote against Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd.'s $34 per share offer because it wanted more time to seek alternatives that would provide better shareholder value.

The New York investment firm said Friday that it believes another bidder could have offered shareholders a better deal, but it could not secure an offer under existing time and financial constraints. Unless another proposal emerges, Starboard plans on voting in favor of Shuanghui's $4.7 billion offer. The vote has been set for Tuesday.



Starboard owns about 5.7 percent of Smithfield's common stock.

The investment firm had argued that while the deal with Shuanghui does offer some value, shareholders would be better served if the company focused on selling its various divisions, which include fresh pork and hog production businesses, as well as its international divisions.

Because Smithfield is contractually prohibited from seeking superior offers or contacting others who may be interested in acquiring parts of the company, the investment firm sought to find other buyers.

A representative for Smithfield could not be reached immediately for comment.

The deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, would be the largest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm, valued at about $7.1 billion including debt. Smithfield is the parent company of Circle Four Farms, a massive hog operation in Milford.

Smithfield shares fell 19 cents to $33.98 in morning trading — just below the offered price.

 

 

 

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