Pilgrim's Pride lines up banks for Hillshire bid - sources

Reuters

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By Olivia Oran and Mariana Santibanez

June 5 (Reuters) - Pilgrim's Pride Corp, the second largest U.S. chicken processor, has lined up a number of banks to help finance its offer for Hillshire Brands Co as it escalates its bidding war with Jimmy Dean sausage maker Tyson Foods Inc, according to people familiar with the matter.

Pilgrim's Pride, which is majority owned by Brazilian meat processing company JBS S.A., has lined up banks including Barclays PLC, Bank of Montreal, Rabobank and Wells Fargo & Co to finance a potential bid, the people said.

Pilgrim's Pride and the banks declined to comment. The people who spoke about the potential financing declined to be named because the matter is private.

Pilgrim's Pride earlier this week said it had raised its offer for Hillshire to $55 per share, which valued the company at $7.7 billion including debt.

Tyson Foods' offer of $50 per share values Hillshire at $6.8 billion, including $500 million in debt.

The offers come after Hillshire said last month it had planned to buy Pinnacle Foods Inc, the maker of Birds Eye frozen vegetables, in a deal valued at $4.3 billion, excluding debt.

The two offers, made last week, require Hillshire to terminate its deal with Pinnacle.

Hillshire said on Tuesday it would "provide information" to both bidders and conduct talks with them.

(Reporting by Olivia Oran and Mariana Santibanez of IFR in New York; Editing by Chris Reese and Tom Brown)

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