June 4 Continental Grain Co, the largest
shareholder in Smithfield Foods Inc, said on Monday it
would sell its entire stake in the world's biggest pork
producer, preventing an impending proxy battle after China's
Shuanghui International Holdings moved in to buy Smithfield in a
multi-billion dollar deal.
Originally formed in 1813 as a grain-trading firm in Arlon,
Belgium, privately-held Continental's founding family relocated
to the United States after World War II. It held a 5.84 percent
stake in Smithfield as of April 25, according to Reuters data.
Continental sent Smithfield a letter in March urging a
breakup and moved towards a proxy fight with the pork producer
after filing a presentation with U.S. securities regulators in
April. Continental had said it would seek shareholder support
for a turnaround plan for Smithfield, which included splitting
the hog producer into three companies.
Shuanghui International Holdings said last week it would buy
Smithfield Foods for $4.7 billion.
"In light of the announced transaction, we have elected to
exit our long-term ownership position in Smithfield because we
are satisfied with our investment return," Continental's chief
executive, Paul Fribourg, said in a statement.