How Tyson is focusing on what it does best through M&A

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Signage is arranged on a Tyson Foods Inc. Tyson any'tizers brand pepperoni mozzarella chicken snackers package in an arranged photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. The largest U.S. meat company posted better-than-expected fiscal third-quarter earnings as beef demand rose and cattle costs fell, Tyson said Monday in a statement. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg 

Tyson Foods, the owner of Hillshire Farm, wants to “feed the world” with its protein brands and will seek acquisitions to help.

“We will be acquisitive where we believe it’s going to be in the best interest of our share owners, and it’s focused on continuing to try to stabilize margins, improve margins over time,” says Tyson CEO Thomas Hayes. “We are refining and growing our company as part of our strategic plan to sustainably feed the world with the fastest-growing protein brands.”

As part of the company’s M&A strategy to focus proteins, Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) has agreed to buy protein supplier Keystone Foods from Marfrig Global Foods for $2.16 billion. Keystone distributes chicken, beef, fish and pork to some of the world’s largest restaurant chains including McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD). The acquisition includes six processing plants and an innovation center in the U.S. with locations in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, along with eight plants and three innovation centers in China, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia. Keystone has $2.5 billion in revenue. Hayes adds that the purchase will give Tyson global growth opportunities. “Keystone provides a significant foundation for international growth with its in-country operations, sales and distribution network in high growth markets in the Asia Pacific region as well as exports to key markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”

In other deals to boost its core business lines, Tyson has agreed to buy the poultry rendering and blending assets of American Proteins Inc. and Ampro Products Inc. for $850 million. The deal will allow Tyson to recycle more animal products for feed, pet food and aquaculture, and expand its presence in the growing animal feed ingredient business. In another core acquisition, in 2018, Tyson bought organic chicken producer Tecumseh Poultry LLC. Founded in 1998, Tecumseh produces fresh chicken, air-chilled chicken, deli-style chicken and a variety of chicken sausage. Air-chilling uses cold air to cool chicken during processing rather than the industry standard water-chilling.

Aside from acquisitions, Tyson has been divesting assets. The company has sold its pizza crust business to private equity firm Peak Rock Capital. The target makes baked crusts, self-rising crusts and flat breads for the foodservice and retail industries. Tyson is also selling its Sara Lee frozen bakery and Van’s businesses to Kohlberg & Co.

Tyson was founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and has grown through generations of family leadership. The Springdale, Arkansas-based company owns Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Wright, Aidells, and State Fair brands. As long as people eat chicken and pork, there will be ample M&A opportunities for Tyson. M&A

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