A move from JBS for Smithfield could raise anti-trust concerns in the US pork sector

A move from JBS for Smithfield could raise anti-trust concerns in the US pork sector

Shares in US meat giant Smithfield Foods jumped almost 9% today (29 June) after reports in Brazil said local meat processor JBS could hold discussions to buy the business.

Smithfield's stock was up 8.9% in early trading after Brazilian business daily Valor Economico said JBS was looking for acquisitions - and cited Smithfield as a possible target.

Officials from Smithfield and JBS could not be reached for immediate comment.

Smithfield's shares were up almost 3.5% at US$15.40 at 13:26 ET.

Shares in JBS were down 4.9% at BRL7.61 on the Sao Paulo stock exchange at 14:17 local time this afternoon.

In the last 18 months, JBS has made a flurry of acquisitions in 2009 amid a wave of consolidation in the global meat sector.

Last year, JBS acquired ailing US poultry giant Pilgrim's Pride and came together with another Brazilian firm Bertin to create a JBS-led meat titan.

JBS has also found time to buy two Australian firms - lamb business Tatiara and beef group Rockdale Beef.

Rival Brazilian meat processor Marfrig has also been acquisitive. Earlier this month, Marfrig agreed to buy the largest privately-held meat products company in the US, Keystone Foods, for $1.26bn.

Last month, Marfrig's UK arm Moy Park agreed to buy Northern Irish processor O'Kane Poultry, albeit for GBP13m.

Last autumn, Marfrig spent $706.2m buying Brazilian poultry business Seara Alimentos from agribusiness giant Cargill.