Market News & Headlines >> Pilgrim's Pride, JBS Make Offer For Hillshire Brands

 Pilgrim’s Pride, the second-largest U.S. poultry producer, unveiled a $6.4 billion bid Tuesday to buy Hillshire Brands Co., the maker of several brands including Hillshire lunchmeats and Jimmy Dean Sausage.

Pilgrim’s, which is based in Colorado but controlled by Brazil’s JBS, which owns two-thirds of the company, would pay $45 a share, which it said would be a 25% premium to Hillshire’s stock price.

Pilgrim’s CEO William Lovette and JBS CEO Wesley Batista said in a letter to Hillshire that the company hopes to “executive a definitely agreement within two weeks.” However, any potential deal is complicated by the fact Hillshire reached its own agreement a couple weeks ago to buy Pinnacle Foods, which owns brands such as Birds Eye frozen vegetables and Wish-Bone salad dressings, for $4.3 billion.

Pilgrim’s noted in its letter to Hillshire that its agreement with Pinnacle includes a provision that would allow Hillshire to pursue a competing proposal if it is better for shareholders. Abandoning the Pinnacle deal would trigger a $163 million termination fee for Hillshire.

Lovette first mentioned Pilgrim’s interest in Hillshire in a private meeting in February, according to his letter. JBS is the world’s biggest meat processor. JBS is the world’s biggest meat processor. Hillshire was formed in a spinoff from Sara Lee in 2012.