US Approves Chinese Takeover of Smithfield Foods
Looks like the giant merger between Smithfield Foods and Shuanghui International is one step closer to completion (and world domination). USA Today reports that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has approved the $4.7 billion deal that would hand over the world's largest pork producer to China's Shuanghui.
"This transaction will create a leading global animal protein enterprise," Zhijun Yang, chief executive officer of Shuanghui International, said in a joint statement (which, as Grub Street points out, might be the understatement of the century).
Smithfield shareholders still have to vote on the takeover on Sept. 24; following the vote, the deal will close.
Many activists have expressed reservations about the buyout, if only because both Smithfield and Shuanghui have had instances of questionable farming, employing, and food safety practices. If the deal goes through, America is handing over control of a company that employs more than 46,000 people in four countries and 24 states, as USA Today reports.
When the deal was first announced, however, Larry Pope, CEO of Smithfield, maintained that business will go on as usual in the States, and factories will not close. "We do not anticipate any changes in how we do business operationally in the United States and throughout the world... With our shared expertise and leadership, we look forward to accelerating a global expansion strategy as part of Shuanghui," Pope said, who will stay on as CEO. Still, having all our pork processed by one large international company? Doesn't help quell our fears of finding maggots in our sausages.