MINNEAPOLIS — Cargill, Continental Grain Co. and Sanderson Farms Inc. announced on Aug. 9 that the companies have reached a definitive agreement for a joint venture between Cargill and Continental Grain to acquire Sanderson Farms for $203 per share in cash, representing a total equity value for Sanderson Farms of $4.53 billion.
Upon completion of the transaction, Cargill and Continental Grain will combine Sanderson Farms with Wayne Farms, a subsidiary of Continental Grain, to form a new, privately held poultry business.
“Since my grandfather founded Sanderson Farms 75 years ago, our many significant achievements have been driven by our commitment to providing the very best chicken products in a profitable manner that benefits each of the constituents who contribute to our success. 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 F. Sanderson Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms. “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. As part of the newly created company, Sanderson Farms and its new owners will remain committed to the employees, poultry producers, customers, communities, environment, and animals under our care, and to continuing to deliver the highest quality products and the best service in our industry to our customers.”
“The combination of Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms will create a best-in-class U.S. poultry company with a high-quality asset base, complementary operating cultures, and an industry-leading management team and workforce. The new company will be well positioned to enhance its service to customers across retail and food service and drive organic growth in an industry fueled by affordability and key consumer trends around the health, sustainability, and versatility of chicken,” the companies said in a statement.
“We are very happy to partner with Cargill with whom we have had a decades-long relationship between two family-owned companies. Sanderson Farms’ operations, best-in-class assets and valuable brand have underscored their success, and we have the highest respect for Joe Sanderson, and the business and team he has built as the third generation CEO,” said Paul Fribourg, chairman and CEO of Continental Grain. “Wayne Farms has been one of the most important and successful parts of Continental Grain for almost 60 years, so bringing together two great partners with two great poultry companies will ensure good things for our customers, our grower partners, and our employees.”
The new company will have state-of-the-art operations and will continue to invest in its workforce and in employee safety, company officials added. Operations will include poultry processing plants and prepared foods plants across Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas.
“At Cargill, we are committed to nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way,” said David MacLennan, chairman and CEO of Cargill. “Expanding our poultry offerings to the U.S. is a key enabler of our ability to meet customer and consumer demands. With these great businesses, and our strong partnership, we believe we will deliver a superior portfolio of products and services to our customers.”
Cargill added that it expects to support the new joint venture with its long-standing relationships with retail and foodservice customers. Wayne Farms, part of Continental Grain’s food, agriculture and commodities investment portfolio since 1965, has roots in the poultry industry that go back more than a century.
The purchase price represents a 30.3 percent premium to Sanderson Farms’ unaffected share price of $155.74 on June 18, 2021, the last full trading day prior to media speculation about the potential sale of Sanderson Farms; a 22.8 percent premium to the Sanderson Farms 30-day volume weighted average price as of June 18, 2021, and a 15.2 percent premium to the all-time high share price as of June 18, 2021.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2021 or early 2022 and will be subject to regulatory and Sanderson Farms stockholder approval, and other customary closing conditions.
The acquisition consortium has committed equity and debt financing in place to complete the transaction.
Wayne Farms CEO Clint Rivers will lead the combined company.
Upon the completion of the transaction, Sanderson Farms will become a private company, and its shares will no longer be traded on NASDAQ.