Starboard Urges Smithfield Split Over Sale To Chinese Co.

Jun 18 2013 | 10:30am ET

Smithfield Foods' takeover by China's Shuanghui International Holdings has a new opponent.

The $4.7 billion deal—the largest-ever takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese company—has already raised concerns from politicians. Now, it's earned the ire of activist hedge fund Starboard Value, which wants to see Smithfield split up, rather than sold.

Starboard said the company should be split into three companies, a move it said would make it worth as much as $21 per share more than Shuanghui has offered. In a letter to Smithfield, Starboard criticized the company for not seeking bidders for its parts, saying it sees suitors for them.

Starboard's plan would break the pork-production giant into pork production, hog farming and international sales companies.

Smithfield said it would review Starboard's letter. Starboard owns 5.7% of the company.

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