Greeley, CO

Greeley-based Pilgrim's Pride loses $1B in value after JBS withdraws offer

Matt Whittaker

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The Pilgrim's Pride feed mill in Pittsburg, Texas, in August 2015.Michael Barera/Wikimedia Commons

By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver

(Greeley, Colo.) Brazil's JBS, the largest meat-packing company in the world and owner of 80% of Greeley-based Pilgrim's Pride Corp., has withdrawn its offer to buy the remaining shares of the Colorado chicken processor after being twice rebuffed.

Pilgrim's Pride stock closed Thursday at $27.78 but then fell to $23.46 in after-hours trading following the announcement. That shaved off more than a billion dollars of the Colorado company's stock market value, as its market capitalization dipped from $6.8 billion before the announcement to $5.7 billion after.

The Brazilian company said Thursday that it couldn't agree with a special committee formed by the Pilgrim's Pride board to evaluate the offer. Pilgrim's Pride spokesman Cameron Bruett declined to comment beyond the JBS statement.

JBS in August made a $1.3 billion unsolicited offer to buy the remaining shares for $26.50 apiece, a 17% premium to the stock's closing price on the day of the offer.

In October, Pilgrim's Pride told JBS its original offer was too cheap, and the Brazilian company raised it to $28.50 per share in November. That still wasn't good enough for the special committee, which said "the revised proposal from JBS does not appropriately value the shares of Pilgrim's Pride." In January, JBS said it was still thinking about whether to offer more money.

Earlier this month, Pilgrim's Pride, which like other multinational companies has been facing global inflation and labor shortages, reported financial results for 2021, saying its sales rose 22 percent from the prior year to $14.8 billion.

"Demand in the U.S. continued its recovery," the company said. "Our food service business improved year over year, while retail sales were above pre-pandemic levels. While labor shortages were a significant challenge in the U.S. and Europe throughout 2021, we are starting to see signs of improvement in staffing levels."

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Matt Whittaker writes about natural resources industries, including oil and gas, mining, renewable energy, agriculture and cannabis. He's been based in the Denver metro area since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @mattswhittaker.

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