Smithfield shareholders have approved the pork processor’s $4.7 billion acquisition by Shuanghui Holdings. It happened at a special Smithfield shareholder meeting Tuesday. The deal is expected to be completed by Thursday.
The vote was not unexpected and analysts recommended passage. The decision to finalize the biggest purchase ever of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm wasn’t even close. More than 96 percent of votes cast were in favor of the deal worth $34 a share, a 31 percent premium to the price at the time it was announced in May.
Smithfield CEO Larry Pope thanked shareholders for their support and said he’s pleased with the outcome of today’s vote.
That support recently hit a bump in the road when shareholder Starboard Value, a hedge fund, sought to block the Shuanghui-Smithfield acquisition, saying the $34-per-share offer for Smithfield was below the company’s value. The firm, however, changed its mind last week and said it would vote for the sale. That was after Starboard failed to come up with an alternative bid for Smithfield.
The Shuanghui deal came under criticism from some lawmakers and others over questions of food safety. Those concerns were refuted by both Smithfield and Shuanghui.
Brownfield reported earlier that the deal had been approved this month by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which reviews national-security risks of foreign acquisitions. That happened at the end of an extended 45-day investigation.