Pilgrims lost out in race to buy Hillshire Brands

Pilgrim's lost out in race to buy Hillshire Brands

US poultry processor Pilgrim's Pride has confirmed it is still looking to make acquisitions after pulling out of the race to buy Jimmy Dean sausage maker Hillshire Brands.

Bill Lovette, Pilgrim's CEO, said the company wanted to shore up its presence in the market through M&A.

"We will continue to pursue more attractive options that add value to our shareholders and strengthen our strategic position in the market," Lovette told The Wall Street Journal.

A spokesperson for Pilgrim's confirmed the comments made to the WSJ were accurate when contacted by just-food but declined to comment further.

Lovette said Pilgrim's would look at poultry businesses in regions where it had little presence or at other processed meat companies.

Pilgrim, majority-owned by Brazilian meat giant JBS, had been competing to buy Hillshire with rival US meat group Tyson Foods, as both companies looked to add higher-margin prepared products to their portfolios.

Last week, Pilgrim's saw its US$7.7bid for Hillshire trumped by an $8.55bn offer from US meat rival Tyson Foods.

Pilgrim's said it maintained a "disciplined" approach to M&A and raising its bid would not be in the interests of its shareholders.