Tyson Wins Food Fight With Chicken Rival for Jimmy Dean Sausages

The food fight between two chicken giants to gobble up Jimmy Dean sausages is over.

Tyson Foods prevailed over Pilgrim's Pride in a bidding war between the meat processors over Hillshire Brands, with an increased offer valuing the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages at $8.55 billion including debt.

Tyson, the world's second biggest meat processor, said on Monday it would offer $63 per share for Hillshire, a premium of nearly 7 percent to Hillshire's closing price on Friday. The offer followed a bidding process that concluded on Sunday.

Tyson Foods wins bid For Hillshire Brands.
Tyson Foods Inc. has won a bidding war for Hillshire Brands with a $7.75 billion ($63 per share) offer beating out rival Pilgrim's Pride. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Pilgrim's Pride said it had withdrawn its offer. Hillshire's shares rose about 5 percent to $62 in premarket trading. The stock closed at $36.95 on May 9, just before Hillshire offered to buy Pinnacle Foods, the maker of Birds Eye frozen vegetables, in a deal valued at $4.3 billion.

Tyson's offer remains conditional on the Pinnacle deal being called off. However, Hillshire said it had not approved the Tyson offer and had not changed its recommendation that shareholders vote for the deal.

Pilgrim's Pride raised its offer last week to $55 per share from $45, valuing Hillshire at $7.7 billion including debt.

Tyson said on Monday the deal would be funded with existing cash and a fully committed bridge facility from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding Inc and JP Morgan Securities. Hillshire shares were trading at $61.75 about 15 minutes before the start of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

- Reuters