China's Shuanghui buys US pork icon Smithfield

WASHINGTON (AFP) - China's Shuanghui International has agreed to buy US pork icon Smithfield Foods in a deal valuing Smithfield at US$7.1 billion (S$9 billion), the two companies said on Wednesday.

Hongkong-based Shuanghui, which controls China's largest food-processing company, will pay US$4.7 billion in cash and assume the debt of Smithfield, one of the largest meat processors in the United States.

Shuanghui will pay US$34 for each of the outstanding shares of Smithfield, a premium of 31 per cent over Tuesday's closing share price.

"The acquisition provides Smithfield the opportunity to expand its offering of products to China through Shuanghui's distribution network. Shuanghui will gain access to high-quality, competitively-priced and safe US products, as well as Smithfield's best practices and operational expertise," said Shuanghui chairman Wan Long in a statement.