... and ham

South Dakota State Roundup

Published March 1, 2001  | March 2001 issue

It finally happened. On Jan. 1, after months of offers, counteroffers, inside deals, lawsuits and investigations, Dakota Dunes-based IBP, the nation's largest beef packer and second largest pork producer, was purchased by Tyson Foods Inc., of Georgia, for $3.2 billion in cash and stock, and assumption of $1.5 billion debt.

For Tyson, the deal is a chance to diversify beyond chicken and allows it to handle more of the meat cooler needs of large supermarket chains. According to analysts, the Tyson-IBP combination will account for 30 percent of beef, 33 percent of chicken and 18 percent of pork sales nationally.

Farmers and politicians weighed in heavily with antitrust concerns when Smithfield Foods—the nation's largest hog processor—was interested in IBP, but such concerns have been muted in the Tyson deal. Company officials said they expect to receive shareholder and regulatory approval by the end of first quarter 2001.

Douglas Clement