Swift & Co name resurfaces as ConAgra sells fresh meat business
May 22, 2002 12:00 PM, Gary MacklinConAgra Foods, Omaha NE, has agreed to sell control of its fresh beef and pork processing business to a group that includes Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst of Vail Co and Booth Creek Management Corp. The sale, valued at approximately $1.4 billion, will give Hicks, Muse and Booth Creek ownership of 54% of the new company to be called Swift & Co in recognition of one of the meat company’s oldest and most notable brand names. ConAgra will retain 46% of the new company. ConAgra’s meat operations are headquartered in Greeley CO and include a beef-processing business in Australia, headquartered in Brisbane. ConAgra is the third largest beef and pork processor in the US and the largest beef processor in Australia.
The deal will pay ConAgra about $800 million in cash plus equity in the new company valued at $150 million. In addition, the new business will owe ConAgra $150 million in subordinated debt, $30 million in secured debt, and about $250 million in lines of credit. Closing is expected by the end of August 2002.