Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) and The Hillshire Brands Co. (NYSE: HSH) announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Tyson Foods will acquire all outstanding shares of Hillshire Brands for $63 per share. The all-cash transaction is valued at approximately $8.55 billion, including Hillshire Brands’ outstanding net debt. In addition, Tyson Foods will be making, on behalf of Hillshire Brands, a payment of the $163 million termination fee associated with the termination of Hillshire Brands’ merger agreement with Pinnacle Foods Inc. (NYSE: PF). The board of directors of Hillshire Brands has accepted the notice of termination received from Pinnacle Foods and the previously announced transaction has been terminated.
“By investing in Hillshire Brands and its collection of leading brands, we have a unique opportunity to transform an important segment of our business, and position Tyson Foods to meet American consumers’ growing demand for protein at breakfast and throughout the day,” said Donnie Smith, president and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods. “We operate in a competitive and complex marketplace that demands bold steps to remain an industry leader. I am confident that together Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands have the right products and the right people to create years of enhanced shareholder value and ensure more choices for our customers and consumers.”
The combination of Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands will reposition Tyson as a clear leader in the retail sale of prepared foods, with a complementary portfolio of well-recognized brands, including Tyson®, Wright®, Jimmy Dean®, Ball Park®, State Fair® and Hillshire Farm®. In particular, the strength of Hillshire Brands’ products in the breakfast category will allow Tyson Foods to capture opportunities in this attractive and fast-growing day part.
Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer of Hillshire Brands, said, “After thoughtful consideration, our board of directors concluded that a combination with Tyson Foods represents a unique opportunity to provide shareholders with significant and immediate value while also positioning our business for continued success. Importantly, this is a testament to the tremendous value our talented team of employees has created over the past few years by strengthening our brands in the eyes of consumers. I am confident that we have found an excellent partner in Tyson. We firmly believe that our combined global platform will be extremely well positioned to capitalize on the substantial growth opportunities in this market in the years ahead.”
Smith added, “We are confident that the two companies can learn a great deal from each other, and we recognize that Hillshire Brands’ value comes from its people, brands and processes. As we begin planning how to bring these companies together, we intend to proceed in a thoughtful manner that honors the strengths embedded in both cultures that have made each of them successful.”
The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is anticipated to close by Sept. 27, 2014, the last day of Tyson Foods’ fiscal year. Pursuant to the definitive agreement, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods will commence a tender offer for 100 percent of the outstanding shares of Hillshire Brands common stock for $63 per share in cash. The tender offer is required to be commenced within 10 business days and to remain open for at least 20 business days after launch. Following successful completion of the tender offer, any shares not acquired in the tender offer will be acquired in a second-step merger at the same $63 per share cash price. Closing of the tender offer is conditioned upon customary closing conditions, including the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and there being validly tendered and not withdrawn a number of shares of Hillshire common stock equal to at least two-thirds of the total outstanding shares of Hillshire common stock. The offer is not subject to any financing condition.
Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan are acting as financial advisors to Tyson Foods, and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is acting as its legal counsel. Centerview Partners and Goldman, Sachs & Co. are acting as financial advisors to Hillshire Brands, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is acting as its legal advisor.