Brazil’s JBS lifted its stake in Pilgrim’s Pride above 75 percent by buying out Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim, a titan of the world’s poultry industry, after he resigned on Monday from the board after more than 60 years at the U.S.-based company. Pilgrim is a National Chicken Council honorary life-time member and a former board member.

Pilgrim’s exit, which will leave him as an adviser, ends his place at Pilgrim’s Pride controls that he has held since joining he company soon after it was founded in 1946 at Texas feed store bought for $3,500.  He took sole leadership of the company, initially called Farmer’s Feed and Seed, when his brother died of a heart attack in 1966.  He later appointed chief executives, including OB Goolsby, who orchestrated the takeover of Gold Kist in 2006.  That acquisition made Pilgrim’s Pride the world’s top chicken company by production.  Goolsby, who had joined Pilgrim’s Pride with the purchase of ConAgra’s poultry division in 2003, died in 2007.

It was reported that Pilgrim, and two family trusts, had sold 18.9 million shares to JBS.  JBS took control of the company in 2009 after Pilgrim’s was forced by debt and the global recession to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on December 2008 and brought in Don Jackson as its new chief executive.  The deal takes JBS’s stake in Pilgrim’s Pride to 75.3 percent, with the total price paid of $107.6 million working out at less than $5.70 per share.  The shares closed on Monday, when the deal was undertaken, at a 10-month high of $6.96.

 

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