US - Tyson Foods and The Hillshire Brands Company have reached an agreement with the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.
Tyson and Hillshire Brands entered into a Hold Separate Stipulation and Order with the Antitrust Division and agreed to comply with the terms of a proposed Final Judgement.
As part of the agreement, Tyson has agreed to divest its Heinold Hog Markets business, the boars, outs and sows ("BOS") buying arm that is part of Tyson Hog Markets, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Tyson.
Tyson will sell Heinold in 90 days of the agreement reached yesterday 27 August.
Until it has sold off the division, Tyson and Hillshire Brands agreed to operate Tyson Hog Markets as an independent, ongoing, economically viable competitive business, with management, purchases, sales and operations held separate from those of Hillshire Brands.
Following the agreement with the Antitrust Division by the D.C. District Court, the Pre-Merger Notification Office at the Federal Trade Commission granted termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.
However the approval of the move by the department of justice has been attacked by US farmers.
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said: “Anti-trust laws were put on the books to keep powerful industries – like the meat industry – from being overly consolidated.
“Yet nearly every merger request they file is approved by the Department of Justice. As a result, the meat industry grows more powerful by the day and the family farmer continues to get squeezed.
“This is because farmers are price takers not price makers, and when the number of buyers is decreased, the sales options left to farmers and ranchers are fewer and fewer and the ability of the buyers to dictate prices to producers continues to increase. The top four meat packers already control 80 percent of the market and now that number has just gone up.
“Once again, the Department of Justice has turned its back on family farmers.”
TheMeatSite News Desk