Starboard Value LP, an investor in Smithfield Foods, Inc., continues its efforts to derail the purchase of the company by Hong Kong’s Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd.
According to an article on Bloomburg, sources say Starboard is trying to put together a bidding group comprised of buyout firms and meat processors to offer a higher price, with the ultimate goal of breaking up the company.
Shuanghui agreed to buy Smithfield earlier this year for $4.7 billion. Jeffrey Smith, the CEO of Starboard, has been vocal in his argument the company is worth much more through a split. Sources say Starboard may present a proposal to Smithfield’s board within a month.
Shuanghui has agreed to pay $34 a share for Smithfield, but Starboard believes the stock is worth from $44 to $55 a share if the company were split up. Starboard holds a 5.7 percent stake in Smithfield.
The Shuanghui purchase proposal is currently under review by U.S. regulators.
“A fresh offer may face less regulatory scrutiny, as politicians have urged the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to take a closer look at Shuanghui’s bid,” said the authors in the Bloomberg article. “Smithfield said July 24 that CFIUS is conducting a 45-day review of the takeover after concluding the initial 30-day review.”
Some analysts feel the Shuanghui deal is too far advanced for the company to consider other alternatives. A rival bid would need to be significantly higher for another investment group to be considered.