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Smithfield shareholders approve Shuanghui deal

09/24/2013 @ 9:16am

Smithfield Foods Inc. (SFD) shareholders have approved the pork processor's $4.7 billion acquisition by Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. (SIHL.YY), the biggest purchase of a U.S. company ever by a Chinese firm.

At a special Smithfield shareholder meeting Tuesday, more than 96% of votes cast were in favor of the deal, representing about 76% of the company's total shares outstanding as of the record date for the special meeting. The deal is expected to be completed by Thursday.

"We are pleased with the outcome of today's vote and thank all of our shareholders for their support," said Chief Executive C. Larry Pope.

The vote comes after activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP, which had sought to block the Shuanghui-Smithfield acquisition, changed course last week and said it would vote for the tie-up after failing to come up with an alternative bid.

Shuanghui agreed in May to buy Smithfield for $34 a share, a 31% premium to the price at the time. Some lawmakers and others have criticized the deal over questions of food safety, concerns Smithfield and Shuanghui have rebutted.

This month, the deal won approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which reviews the national-security risks of foreign acquisitions, at the end of an extended 45-day investigation. Proxy advisory firms Glass Lewis & Co. and Institutional Shareholder Services also recommended that shareholders back the deal, and it had been widely expected to win a majority of votes at Tuesday's meeting.

Write to Nathalie Tadena at nathalie.tadena@wsj.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 24, 2013 10:03 ET (14:03 GMT)
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