Pilgrim's Pride to Buy Gold Kist, to Pass Tyson in Chicken

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PITTSBURG, Texas (AP) - Poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride says has agreed to buy rival Gold Kist for $1.1 billion in cash. The deal values Gold Kist at 21 dollars a share.

The offer is one dollar per share higher than Texas-based Pilgrim's Pride's initial offer, first announced in August. Atlanta-based Gold Kist rejected that bid, saying at the time that it wanted to remain a private company. But by last Wednesday, Gold Kist shareholders had tendered 67 percent of the company's stock to Pittsburg-based Pilgrim's Pride.

The combined company will be the world's leading chicken company
in terms of production and would also be the third-largest US meat
protein company by revenue, according to the companies. Arkansas-based Tyson Foods is the largest meat company but would no longer be the top chicken producer.

Pilgrim's Pride says the deal will begin to add to earnings after the first full year of operations. It expects to save $50 million dollars annually from the acquisition.

Pilgrim's Pride will also assume about $144 million in Gold Kist's debt. Both companies own processing plants in north Alabama.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)