Moments ago, news broke that in a stunning M&A move, an American pork icon - Smithfield Foods, may be acquired as soon as today by China's Shuanghui, also known as Shineway, which is China's largest pork producer. The Chinese are coming, and they want America's pork. It unclear how soon after the deal gets clearance by the Committee on Foreign Investment (if it does at all) will the US be subject to that well-honored China excess pig "clearance" strategy: floating 'em down the river.
Chinese meat producer Shuanghui Group is close to a deal to acquire Smithfield Foods Inc. for between $4.5 billion and $5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
The sale of the Smithfield, Va.-based pork and meat producer could be announced as soon as Wednesday morning, and comes on the heels of agitation from a large shareholder to split up the company.
The bid by Shuanghui, also known as Shineway, represents a roughly 30% premium over Tuesday's close of $25.97, the people said. But a deal could be subject to review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, they said.
Smithfield's board of directors is concerned about the deal passing muster with CFIUS review, said a person familiar with the matter. The deal is structured with a reverse breakup fee in the event that the deal falls apart due to regulatory issues, the person said.
Founded in 1936, Smithfield has a market capitalization of $3.6 billion as of Tuesday's close.
Shuanghui Group, based in Henan province in central China, is the holding company for Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Co., 000895.SZ +1.47% which is publicly listed in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. Shuanghui is China's largest pork producer, according to the company, and it sells products under the English name Shineway.
A spokeswoman for Smithfield couldn't immediately be reached.
Confused why China wants pork? Simple: the meat is the primary food in the country, the biggest source of marginal food inflation, and is produced more in China than in the entire rest of the world.