March 15, 2019 / 8:00 PM / a month ago

JBS, Pilgrim's Pride executives face U.S. trial in lawsuit over Moy Park deal

The logo of Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA is seen in the city of Jundiai, Brazil June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A Delaware judge ruled on Friday that executives from Brazilian meat processor JBS SA and from its U.S.-based subsidiary Pilgrim’s Pride Corp will face trial regarding a shareholder lawsuit questioning the acquisition of Moy Park in 2017.

Based in Northern Ireland, poultry processor Moy Park was a subsidiary of JBS SA as well. Minority Pilgrim’s shareholders sued the company’s executives, including board members appointed by its parent, after the $1.3 bln acquisition, saying Pilgrim’s was forced by JBS to make the purchase in conditions that were not favorable.

The lawsuit contends JBS was in urgent need of cash at the time. Its controlling shareholder J&F Investimentos, was fined more than $3 billion in Brazil. J&F's owners, the brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista, testified that they bribed more than 1,000 politicians. [reut.rs/2ClHlIQ]

There is no date set yet for the trial.

JBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

In a statement at the time of the acquisition, Pilgrim’s Pride said the deal was approved by an independent committee that “had been granted full authority” over all aspects of the transaction.

Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by David Gregorio

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