June 9, 2014 2:00 PM, EDT
Tyson Foods Outbids Pilgrim's for Hillshire Brands
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. meat company, has made a unilaterally binding bid to buy The Hillshire Brands Co., outbidding Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. to gain control of the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs.

Both food-processing companies have large private truck fleets.

Tyson offered $63 a share in cash for Hillshire and said the all-cash transaction is valued at approximately $8.55 billion. The offer is subject to Hillshire Brands being released from its existing agreement to acquire Pinnacle Foods Inc.

Hillshire said in a news release that its board of directors had not approved the Tyson offer and does not have the right to terminate the merger agreement with Pinnacle on the basis of the Tyson offer.

Tyson outbid Pilgrim’s, the chicken producer 75 percent owned by Brazil’s JBS SA, which had the high offer previously at $55 a share – by about $6.7 billion. After the offer reached that level, Hillshire agreed to enter talks with both suitors. Pilgrim’s said separately it withdrew its proposal.

Tyson, with about 2,600 trucks and 6,000 trailers, ranks No. 11 on Transport Topics Top 100 listing of U.S. and Canadian private carriers. Hillshire, with about 340 tractors and 3,300 straight trucks, ranks No. 83.