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A Meaty Offer: Pilgrim's Pride Offers $5.58 Billion For Hillshire Brands

Hillshire Farm products at Quality Market in Barre, Vt.
Toby Talbot
Hillshire Farm products at Quality Market in Barre, Vt.

The poultry giant Pilgrim's Pride is making a $5.58 billion offer to take over Hillshire Farm, the maker of lunch meats and Jimmy Dean sausages.

In statement, Pilgrim's Pride said the deal aims to create a "fully integrated branded protein leader."

Fortune reports the acquisition puts in limbo Hillshire Farm's own intent to buy Pinnacle Foods. Fortune explains:

"The bid for Hillshire comes less than a month after it agreed to pay about $6.6 billion, including debt, to acquire packaged foods company Pinnacle Foods. That deal, announced earlier in May, would have combined Hillshire's portfolio, which included Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park with Pinnacle's Wish-Bone condiments, Mrs. Butterworth's syrups and Celeste pizzas.

"Pilgrim's Pride said its proposal has the unanimous support of the company's board, as well as majority owner Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA. The offer includes a $163 million termination fee payable to Pinnacle. Pilgrim's said it expects the deal would close in the third quarter of this year. It expects to finance the offer with a combination of existing cash and new debt financing."

The AP reports that Pilgrim's Pride says the deal could be finalized by the third quarter of 2014 if Hillshire drops its bid for Pinnacle.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.