After losing the bidding war for Hillshire Brands Co., Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. is still interested in acquisitions to expand its chicken-processing and prepared-foods businesses, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In an emailed statement, Pilgrim’s Chief Executive Bill Lovette said, “We will continue to pursue more attractive options that add value to our shareholders and strengthen our strategic position in the market."
Lovette also said that Pilgrim is looking to expand its poultry operations by acquiring chicken operations in regions where it has little or no presence, Wall Street Journal reports.
Analysts have speculated the Pilgrim’s, which has a market value of around $6.4 billion, could absorb Sanderson Farms Inc., which is valued at $2.2 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. A Sanderson spokesman declined to comment.
Analysts also say that other possibilities include chicken processors Perdue Farms Inc. and Feildale Farms Corp. Representatives for both also declined to comment.
Another speculated option is Bob Evans Farms Inc., a restaurant and packaged-meats company, which also declined to comment.
Pilgrim’s net debt at the end of the first quarter fell to $155 million from $1.1 billion a year earlier. Paying these debts down gives it more capacity to tap cheap credit markets.
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