Brazil's largest beef processor to acquire Swift

HM Capital Partners LLC, a leading, Dallas-based private equity firm, J&F Participações S.A., which owns 77 percent of Brazil’s JBS S.A., Latin America’s largest beef processor, and Swift & Company, the world’s third-largest processor of fresh beef and pork products, announced that HM Capital and J&F will acquire Swift in an all-cash transaction representing an enterprise value of approximately $1.4 billion.

The transaction value includes $225 million in cash for all Swift stock held by HM Capital and Booth Creek Management Corporation, its investment partner in the September 2002 acquisition of Swift from ConAgra Foods, Inc., and the assumption by J&F of approximately $1.2 billion in Swift debt plus all transaction-related expenses.

Edward Herring, a Partner of HM Capital, said: “This is a win-win transaction for everyone involved. For HM Capital, the proceeds from this transaction, coupled with our earlier leveraged recapitalization of Swift, will together produce a very attractive return for our investors. For J&F, the strategic combination of Swift and JBS—industry leaders with no market overlap—will create the world’s leading beef processor. The transaction also will benefit Swift’s customers, employees and business partners, by creating a combined Swift-JBS enterprise in which Swift will retain its organizational identity, customer and supplier relationships and substantially all of its employees and leadership team while becoming part of the world’s largest beef processor.”

Joesley Mendonça Batista, Partner of J&F and CEO of JBS S.A., said: “We are thrilled to acquire Swift & Company, and to be able to create a combined enterprise that will be the world’s leading processor of fresh beef and pork products. It is a major step for our group in establishing a global presence. More importantly, Swift will provide us with access to the Pacific region. Given the attractiveness of the asset, we are glad that we could reach an agreement with HM Capital. And finally, we would like to thank Swift’s management team for their stewardship of Swift during a very challenging time for the company and the entire beef industry. Thanks to them, to Swift’s thousands of valued customers, and to the 20,000 loyal and hard-working Swift employees worldwide, Swift today remains a great company with what we believe is significant earnings and growth potential.”

Sam Rovit, President and Chief Executive Officer of Swift, said: “Nothing is more important to me and my colleagues on the Swift management team than seeing Swift remain the strong, stable, customer-focused company we are today. Joining J&F to become the world’s largest beef and pork processor, Swift should emerge even stronger, and that is good news for our partnership customers, our suppliers and our employees. I look forward to working closely with HM Capital and J&F to achieve a rapid completion of this transaction and a smooth, seamless transition to the new ownership structure.”

Completion of the transaction is subject to Hart-Scott-Rodino and other antitrust reviews and customary closing conditions, and is expected to occur in mid-July.

HM Capital, in partnership with Booth Creek Management Corporation, of Vail, Colorado, acquired Swift & Company—then known as ConAgra Meats Company—from ConAgra Foods, Inc. in September 2002. The original Swift & Company was founded in 1855.

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