Smithfield's Butterball Buy at Risk

September 9/Springdale, Ark./M&A Navigator -- Smithfield Foods said it would probably have to shed its 49% interest in turkey producer Butterball, as its attempt to buy it out could face opposition.

In June, Smithfield offered to purchase the remaining 51% in Butterball from Maxwell Farms for $200 million (157 million euros) in a move to improve the business. As part of the two partners joint-venture agreement, Maxwell can either accept the offer or reject it and buy out Smithfield's stake.

"At this point, what we are getting from our sources is that we are going to be the seller, not the buyer," Smithfield's CEO Larry Pope said at an earnings conference call. The top executive added that the buy/sell notice period expired on Saturday, September 11.

From the September 20, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition