Tyson, Hillshire strike ‘definitive’ deal

Posted: July 2, 2014 at 7:27 a.m.

Tyson Foods Inc. said Wednesday that it has reached a “definitive agreement” by which it will acquire The Hillshire Brands Co. for $63 per share, a move it says will bolster its position in the breakfast-foods market.

Springdale-based Tyson valued the all-cash transaction at about $8.55 billion, a figure that includes Hillshire’s outstanding debt. Tyson will also pay a $163 million breakup fee associated with Hillshire terminating its previous deal to acquire Pinnacle Foods Inc.

Pinnacle Foods announced Monday that it had agreed to terminate its acquisition by the Chicago-based Hillshire Brands, paving the way for Tyson Foods’ takeover of Jimmy Dean, Ball Park and Hillshire Farm.

"By investing in Hillshire Brands and its collection of leading brands, we have a unique opportunity to transform an important segment of our business, and position Tyson Foods to meet American consumers' growing demand for protein at breakfast and throughout the day," Tyson President and CEO Donnie Smith said in a statement.

"As we begin planning how to bring these companies together, we intend to proceed in a thoughtful manner that honors the strengths embedded in both cultures that have made each of them successful," Hillshire President and CEO Sean Connolly added in the statement.

The transaction was unanimously approved by Tyson and Hillshire directors and is expected to close by Sept. 27, the close of Tyson’s fiscal year, the company said.