News 319 views update:Jan 20, 2010

JBS rumoured to be close to Pilgrim's Pride deal

JBS is reportedly in talks to purchase bankrupt Pilgrim's Pride Corp. in a multi-billion-dollar deal that would stretch the Brazilian company's reach into the US food production industry.

A deal for Texas-based Pilgrim's Pride could be worth more than $2 billion, and could be announced by as early as next week, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The purchase of Pilgrim's Pride would usher JBS  into the poultry business, in which Pilgrim's Pride specialises. Pilgrim's Pride was the nation's largest chicken producer before it filed for bankruptcy protection late last year. It was saddled by massive debt, high feed costs and slumping demand. Pilgrim's Pride filed to reorganise under Chapter 11 bankruptcy law in December.

A company created by a merger between JBS and Pilgrim's Pride would become a new competitor for Tyson said the Journal, as Tyson is the only meat company in the US that produces beef, chicken and pork.

The deal is in the final stages of completion, but it still could fall apart, according to several unnamed sources cited by the Journal.

Natalie Berkhout

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