Tyson Foods has decided to sell its shares in Beyond Meat ahead of the IPO of the US-based meat-alternatives business.

The world’s largest protein supplier invested in Beyond Meat in 2016, taking a 5% stake in the California-based firm through its Tyson Ventures investment arm. By the time Beyond Meat filed for its IPO in November, Tyson had taken that shareholding to 6.5%.

US news website Axios said there had been tensions between Tyson and Beyond Meat since the poultry, beef and pork giant said in February it wanted to develop its own plant-based products.

Axios claimed Beyond Meat no longer wanted Tyson to attend board meetings despite doing so being part of an agreement between the two companies.

Approached by just-food yesterday (24 April) to respond to claims of tensions between Tyson and Beyond Meat, the Arkansas-based meat behemoth provided a statement.

“Tyson Ventures is pleased with the investment in Beyond Meat and has decided the time is right to exit its investment. Beyond Meat provided an early opportunity for Tyson Ventures to invest in plant-based protein products that many consumers are seeking. We wish the leadership of Beyond Meat all the best,” the statement read.

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“Tyson Foods continues to be committed to providing alternative protein as a choice for consumers and recently announced the creation of a new business focused on combining our creativity, scale and resources to make great tasting protein alternatives more accessible for everyone. We plan to launch an alternative protein product soon with market testing anticipated this summer.”

Earlier this week, Beyond Meat confirmed the launch of its initial public offering and said it could receive gross proceeds of up to US$201m from the Nasdaq listing.