Chicken producer Sanderson Farms agrees to $4.5 billion buyout deal

FILE PHOTO: A truck laden with chicken leg quarters leaves Sanderson Farms poultry processing plant enroute to Mexico, in Palestine, Texas, U.S., January 17, 2018. Photo taken January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lange

(Reuters) – Chicken producer Sanderson Farms Inc agreed on Monday to be bought for $4.53 billion by commodities trader Cargill Inc and investment firm Continental Grain Co at a time when meat prices have been soaring due to strong demand.

Demand for chicken wings and other chicken products have been rising in recent months as restaurants reopened in the United States, boosting sales at Sanderson Farms and rival Tyson Foods Inc.

Cargill and Continental Grain (check release) offered $203 per Sanderson Farms share, representing a premium of about 11% to the stock’s closing price on Friday.

A Reuters report in June had said Sanderson Farms had drawn interest from buyers including agricultural investment firm Continental, which also owns a smaller chicken processor, Wayne Farms.

Sanderson Farms shares closed at $182.37 on Friday, gaining 40% so far this year, and giving the company a market value of $4.07 billion. The stock has risen 17% since reports emerged about Sanderson Farms exploring a sale.

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