Smithfield Foods and Premium Standard Farms have each received a request for further information from the antitrust division of the US Department of Justice, which is investigating the proposed acquisition following suggestions that Smithfield's purchase of Premium Standard would create a monopoly in the US pork sector.

The request, commonly known as a Second Request, means that the waiting period imposed by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, will be extended until 30-days after Smithfield and Premium Standard Farms have submitted the necessary information, unless that period is extended voluntarily by the parties or terminated early by the Department of Justice.

"The companies intend to respond expeditiously to the Second Request and to work towards a prompt closing, which they are hopeful will occur in the first calendar quarter of 2007," Smithfield said in a statement.