ConAgra Foods Inc., one of North America's leading packaged food companies, announced that Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Incorporated has exercised its option to acquire ConAgra Foods' minority interest in Swift Foods; Swift Foods is the company created when ConAgra Foods divested its fresh beef and pork operations approximately two years ago.
For its minority interest, ConAgra Foods received $194 million and will record no gain or loss on the transaction. As planned, ConAgra Foods no longer has any equity in fresh beef and pork processing operations and expects to soon recover the financing it provided to Swift Foods' cattle feeding operations. The financing, which ConAgra Foods provided for two years, included a line of credit and a note receivable totaling approximately $300 million on the date of maturity; that financing was secured by cattle and feedlots. ConAgra Foods now has control of the assets of the cattle feeding operations, and will sell the cattle and feedlots in an orderly manner over the next few months. The proceeds from the sale of the cattle feeding assets are expected to repay ConAgra Foods for the financing provided to those operations.
As a result of the announcement, the only remaining capital ConAgra Foods has in Swift Foods is $150 million of subordinated debt.