Cattle Group Objects to JBS Acquisition of Pilgrim's

US - R-CALF USA, a cattle producers' group, has called on the Justice Department to prevent the acquisition of poultry company, Pilgrim's Pride by JBS.
calendar icon 25 September 2009
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Dallas News reports a cattle producers' group saying it has asked the US Justice Department to block the acquisition of poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride Corp. by a Brazilian beef giant.

It's one of the first formal challenges to a deal that anchors the effort of Pilgrim's Pride to emerge from bankruptcy.

Last week, Pilgrim's Pride, based in the East Texas town of Pittsburg, said Sao Paulo-based JBS SA planned to acquire 64 per cent of the poultry company for $800 million. Existing shareholders would own the remaining 36 per cent.

Bill Bullard is chief executive of R-CALF USA, a Montana-based non-profit group that represents cattle producers. In a prepared statement, he argued that cattle demand and prices are influenced by the supply and price of competing proteins such as pork and poultry.

"With the acquisition of Pilgrim's Pride, which controls over 20 per cent of US poultry production, JBS could further manipulate the competing protein market in the United States," he said.

In 2007, JBS, which calls itself the world's largest beef producer, purchased Swift & Co., then the nation's third-largest beef packer. According to Dallas News, in 2008, JBS purchased Smithfield Beef Group and tried to buy National Beef Packing Co. although the Justice Department found the latter acquisition would have lessened competition among packers.

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