Brazilian company JBS announced that the United States Justice Department has approved the takeover of US-based Pilgrim's Pride paving the way for the multinational to become the world's largest meat company.
In September, JBS said it would buy a 64% stake in the bankrupt US chicken producer for US$ 800 million. The addition of Pilgrim's Pride and Brazilian meat company Bertin, announced that same day, will give JBS about US$ 30 billion in revenue.
The Pilgrim's Pride deal still depends on the bankruptcy court's final decision, which is expected at the end of December.
"Considering our success in the beef and pork areas in the United States, we believe we're well placed to bring this same energy to Pilgrim's Pride, its workers and clients," said Wesley Batista, executive officer of JBS USA, in a statement.
Pilgrim's Pride said in a statement the deal has also received early antitrust clearance from the US Federal Trade Commission.
"We thank the U.S. Department of Justice for their thorough and timely review of this transaction and we look forward to working with Pilgrim's to honor its tradition," added JBS release.
JBS is currently the world's largest beef producer and exporter with a daily harvesting capacity of 73,900 head of cattle and the largest global exporter of processed beef.
The company's operations include 25 plants located in 9 Brazilian states and 6 plants located in 4 Argentine provinces, in addition to 16 plants in the US, 10 in Australia and 8 in Italy.
Last year JBS purchased the beef unit of Smithfield Foods and beef and pork company Swift & Co. In addition, it is the No. 3 US pork producer and will be a leading chicken producer once the Pilgrim's Pride purchase clears the bankruptcy process.
According to the decision, JBS will not be required to divest assets for the Pilgrim's Pride purchase to proceed, a JBS spokesman said.
While JBS already has US beef and pork operations, the Pilgrim's Pride purchase is its first venture into the US chicken market.
Pilgrim's Pride Corporation employs approximately 41,000 people and operates chicken processing plants and prepared-foods facilities in 12 states of the US, Puerto Rico and Mexico. The Company's primary distribution is through retailers and food service distributors.