Hillshire Brands stock (HSH) is up following a more than $5.7 billion deal offer from poultry producer Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.
HSH stock is up 20% in early morning trading.
Hillshire Brands — which produces Jimmy Dean products and Ball Park hot dogs — has been long seen as a potential acquisition from Wall Street’s vantage point.
The deal will be a $45-per-share cash offer that was about 22% to Hillshire’s closing stock price as of Friday. The deal is expected to be financed with existing cash and help from a third party.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Hillshire, under CEO Sean Connolly, has been trying to transform itself into a company with a broader portfolio of meat and other foods. Earlier this month, Hillshire said it planned to buy Pinnacle Foods Inc., maker of Birds Eye vegetables and Vlasic pickles, for about $4.3 billion in cash and stock, plus the assumption of nearly $2.4 billion in debt.
An acquisition of Hillshire would allow Pilgrim’s Pride to expand its business in branded foods. Right now, 80 percent of Pilgrim’s Pride’s sales are in fresh poultry and 20 percent of its sales are in prepared foods.
“For Hillshire shareholders, our proposal provides a substantial premium, greater certainty and immediate cash value for their shares,” Bill Lovette, Pilgrim’s chief executive officer, to the Chicago Tribune. “We have long respected the Hillshire business and we are confident that Hillshire’s board and shareholders will find our all-cash premium proposal to be superior to the pending acquisition of Pinnacle.”
HSH stock is up 33% year to date.