Wayne Farms parent company acquires Sanderson Farms in $4.5 billion deal

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FILE – In this Nov. 16, 2009, file photo, chickens stand in their cages at a farm near Stuart, Iowa. Cargill and Continental Grain are teaming up in a joint venture to buy Sanderson Farms in a deal worth $4.53 billion as demand for chicken continues to rise.The companies will pay $203 per share in cash. Cargill and Continental Grain plan to combine Sanderson Farms with Wayne Farms, a Continental Grain subsidiary, to form a new, privately held poultry business.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

(WHNT) — Two major agribusiness companies, including the parent company of Wayne Farms, have struck a deal to acquire Sanderson Farms for $4.5 billion.

Cargill and Continental Grain will acquire the poultry producer for $203 per share.

Wayne Farms and Sanderson Farms will now be fused to form a “best-in-class U.S. poultry company” with Wayne Farms CEO Clint Rivers leading the new venture.

The new company, which has yet to be given an official name, will feature state-of-the-art operations for retail and food services, an industry-leading management team, and be able to “drive organic growth in an industry fueled by affordability.”

“This transaction is the culmination of that commitment, as it delivers a significant value to our stockholders, reflecting the dedication of our team, and our best-in-class assets, quality products, efficient and sustainable operations, and respected brand,” said Joe Sanderson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sanderson Farms, Inc. “We are proud to be joining with Cargill and Continental Grain and we are confident that they will be strong stewards of the Sanderson Farms team, brand and assets going forward.”

Operations will include existing poultry processing and prepared foods plants across the South, including two locations in North Alabama: Albertville and Decatur, where the current Wayne Farms plants are located.

According to the Associated Press, Wayne Farms has more than 9,000 employees while Mississippi-based Sanderson Farms has 17,000 employees and 12 plants.

The transaction is expected to be complete later this year or early next year.

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