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Chinese firm to buy Smithfield Foods, take company private

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Posted at 10:21 AM, May 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-29 15:25:30-04

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Chinese meat producer Shuanghui International is buying Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork processor, in a deal valued at around $5 billion.

Under the terms of the deal, Shuanghui will acquire all outstanding shares of Smithfield, maker of popular packaged meats brands such as Eckrich, John Morrell and Farmland, for $34.00 a share in cash. That's a 31% premium to Smithfield's closing price of $25.97 on Tuesday.

Once the deal is approved and completed, Smithfield will cease to be publicly traded company. Smithfield, which employs 46,000 workers globally, will become a wholly-owned independent subsidiary of Shuanghui International.

Shuanghui said it will keep SmithField's current management team, including CEO C. Larry Pope, and all of the company's ongoing operations in place after the transaction.

With the acquisition, Shuanghai aims to expand Smithfield's products into the Chinese market, the company's chairman Wan Long, said in a statement.

"It will be business as usual - only better - at Smithfield," Pope said in a statement. "We do not anticipate any changes in how we do business operationally in the United States and throughout the world. With our shared expertise and leadership, we look forward to accelerating a global expansion strategy as part of Shuanghui."

The deal, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, is expected to close in the second half of 2013.