UPDATE 1-JBS says Pilgrim's Pride stake not for sale

(Adds details on Pilgrim’s Pride, background)

CHICAGO, June 7 (Reuters) - Brazilian meat packer JBS SA’s core U.S. assets, including its majority stake in Pilgrim’s Pride Corp, are not for sale, the company said on Wednesday, a day after announcing a deal to sell Argentine operations.

U.S. chicken company Pilgrim’s Pride is critical to JBS’ long-term strategy of pursuing business opportunities that reduce volatility and enhance margins, JBS said in a statement.

“No core assets at JBS USA, or any other part of the world, are candidates for sale,” the statement said.

The agreement to sell Argentine operations to Minerva SA , announced on Tuesday, was the first by JBS, the world’s largest meat packer, since its founders admitted to paying bribes to Brazilian politicians in exchange for favors in a scandal that threatens to topple President Michel Temer.

The $300 million transaction, expected to close in July, also involves the sale of JBS plants in Paraguay and Uruguay to Minerva.

Last month, J&F Investimentos, controlling shareholder of JBS, agreed to pay a record-setting 10.3 billion real ($3.2 billion) fine for its role in corruption scandals. (Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)