Marfrig Alimentos S.A. has reached a deal to acquire global foodservice supplier Keystone Foods LLC, headquartered in West Conshohocken, Pa. The $1.26 billion purchase is subject to a series of approvals.

Keystone Foods serves more than 28,000 restaurants in 13 different countries. In 2009, the company employed nearly 13,000 people in 54 units, and had net sales of $6.4 billion, reports

This action gives Marfrig, another Brazilian protein purveyor, greater global access by landing a U.S. company. Three years ago, JBS S.A., acquired Swift & Co., making JBS the world’s largest beef producer. JBS then purchased Pilgrim's Pride Corp., last year. Pilgrim’s Pride is the United States’ largest poultry producer, and gives JBS the upper hand over Tyson Foods as the world's largest animal protein producer.

Along with growing it’s global reach, Marfrig’s purchase of Keystone Foods expands development, production and distribution operations involving poultry, beef, pork, fish and other foodservice products. For example, the acquisition makes Marfrig a leading supplier to McDonald's Corp., Campbell's, Subway, ConAgra, Yum Brands and Chipotle.

"The global food market is growing and Brazil has capitalized on this growth by strategically consolidating within the protein industry," Marfrig Chairman and President Marcos Molina said in a news release. "By adding the resources and expertise of Keystone Foods and its management team, we are expanding Marfrig's business with a scale and sustainable supply chain needed to meet the very significant growth opportunities within the industry and to attend to the needs of our global clients."

Keystone Foods CEO Jerry Dean added: "Bringing these two world-class companies together will benefit our customers and our employees globally. Keystone Foods, in its 40-year-history has grown its proteins manufacturing and custom distribution business to become a diversified food company with global operations and reach. This platform along with Keystone's years of expertise will provide new and attractive opportunities for Marfrig with major foodservice and industrial customers worldwide."

Marfrig plans to finance the acquisition by issuing $1.3 billion through a private subscription of five-year mandatory convertible debentures. The acquisition is expected to be complete by the second half of this year.

Source: Marfrig,