Tyson, Hillshire reach merger settlement with U.S.

Posted: August 27, 2014 at 2:40 p.m.

Springdale-based Tyson Foods Inc. reached a settlement with the Justice Department's antitrust division clearing the poultry giant to acquire Hillshire Brands Co., the companies said Wednesday.

The proposed settlement, which will allow Tyson to buy Hillshire for $63 per share in cash, is still subject to the court approval under the Antitrust Procedures and Penalties Act.

Tyson will also be required to divest itself of Heinold Hog Markets, its sow-purchasing business, in order to proceed with the $8.5 billion acquisition, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. Without the divestiture, “the transaction would have combined companies that account for more than a third of sow purchases from U.S. farmers, thereby likely reducing competition for purchases of sows from farmers,” the department said.

The Illinois, Iowa and Missouri attorneys general joined the settlement that the companies reached with the Justice Department.

"Today's proposed settlement will help ensure that hog breeders in the United States will continue to receive the benefits of vigorous competition when selling sows," said Bill Baer, assistant attorney general for the department's antitrust division.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.