Pilgrim's Pride announced today that its board of directors has unanimously approved the purchase of ConAgra Foods chicken division. The combination cash, stock and debt deal is valued at approximately $590 million.
The purchase would bump Pilgrim's Pride up to the second largest chicken producer in the United States, with estimated annual net sales of $5 billion.
Pilgrim's Pride purchased Virginia based WLR Foods in 2001 and operates Virginia plants in Hinton and Broadway.
The sale comes as ConAgra is getting out of the meatpacking business. The company sold its fresh beef and pork business last year. ConAgra's chicken processing operations had reported weak markets and lower volumes in recent years.
ConAgra's chicken brands include Pierce, Country Pride, Easy-Entree and To-Ricos.