UPDATE 1-Starboard hires bankers to explore Smithfield deals

Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:45pm EDT

July 12 (Reuters) - Activist shareholder Starboard Value LP said on Friday it hired financial advisers to explore alternative deals for Smithfield Foods Inc., which in late May agreed to a $4.7 billion sale to Hong Kong-based Shuanghui International Holdings.

Starboard, a New York-based hedge fund that is Smithfield's largest shareholder, disclosed in a regulatory filing that it had hired Moelis & Co. and BDA Advisors Inc. in its effort.

Starboard in June disclosed a 5.7 percent stake in Smithfield, the world's biggest pork processor, and said Smithfield could be worth 29 percent to 64 percent more than the $34 per share offered by Shuanghui if it split up and shopped its hog production, pork and international units separately [ID: nL2N0ET03A].

Representatives from Smithfield and Shuanghui declined to comment. The Smithfield-Shuanghui deal would mark the largest-ever takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm.

Earlier on Friday, Smithfield said the required waiting period has expired under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 in connection with its planned sale to Shuanghui. Smithfield expects the deal to close in the second half of 2013.

Smithfield shares were up 0.6 percent at $33.10 in extended trading on Friday.