The U.S. Justice Department announced Wednesday that it will require Tyson Foods to divest Heinold Hog Markets in order to proceed with its $8.5 billion acquisition of The Hillshire Brands Company. The department said it would require the sale of the sow purchasing business because the transaction with Hillshire would have combined companies that account for more than a third of sow purchases from U.S. farmers, thereby likely reducing competition for purchases of sows from farmers. Tyson Foods, along with Hillshire, announced they have agreed with terms of the settlement. Under the terms, Tyson must divest Heinold Hog Markets in its entirety to a buyer approved by the Antitrust Division. State Attorney Generals of Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri joined the department in the civil lawsuit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block the proposed transaction.
The acquisition of Hillshire by Tyson Foods would combine two major purchasers of sows from farmers in the United States and eliminate the benefit farmers have received from the competition between Hillshire and Tyson’s Heinold Hog Markets. said Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division, stated “Without the divestiture, the proposed acquisition would have eliminated a significant customer for farmers’ sows and likely would have resulted in less competition in this important agricultural market.”Share