Cargill and Continental Grain Company’s Acquisition of Sanderson Farms

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (US) acted as legal counsel, and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher acted as tax counsel to Cargill. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Fishman Haygood acted as legal counsel to Sanderson Farms. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison acted as legal counsel to Wayne Farms and Continental Grain in the transaction.

Cargill, Continental Grain Company, and Sanderson Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ: SAFM) have reached a definitive agreement for a joint venture between Cargill and Continental Grain to acquire Sanderson Farms for $203 per share in cash, representing a total equity value for Sanderson Farms of $4.53 billion.

The combination of Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms will create a best-in-class U.S. poultry company with a high-quality asset base, complementary operating cultures, and an industry-leading management team and workforce. The new company will be well positioned to enhance its service to customers across retail and food service and drive organic growth in an industry fueled by affordability and key consumer trends around the health, sustainability, and versatility of chicken.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2021 or early 2022, and will be subject to regulatory and Sanderson Farms stockholder approval, and other customary closing conditions. The acquisition consortium has committed equity and debt financing in place to complete the transaction. Wayne Farms CEO Clint Rivers will lead the combined company. Upon the completion of the transaction, Sanderson Farms will become a private company, and its shares will no longer be traded on NASDAQ.

Sanderson Farms, Inc. is engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh, frozen and minimally prepared chicken. Its shares trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol SAFM.

Cargill’s 155,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Cargill connects farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive.

Continental Grain Company is a privately owned global investor, owner and operator of companies with more than 200 years of history across the food and agribusiness spectrum. It creates long-term value by applying deep industry knowledge, capital and talent to businesses ranging from established market leaders to promising innovators. 

Wayne Farms LLC is a vertically integrated U.S. poultry producer. A subsidiary of Continental Grain Company, Wayne Farms owns and operates fresh and further-processed facilities throughout the Southeast, and employs more than 9,000 individuals.

BofA Securities acted as the financial advisor to Cargill. Centerview Partners LLC acted as financial advisor to Sanderson Farms. Lazard acted as the financial advisor for Wayne Farms and Continental Grain. 

The Paul, Weiss team advising Wayne Farms and Continental Grain included corporate partners Steven Williams (Picture), Thomas de la Bastide and Raphael Russo, and counsel Stephen Koo, Oliver Board, Philip Heimowitz and David Curtiss; tax partners Scott Sontag and Patrick Karsnitz; executive compensation partner Andrew Gaines and counsel Ron Aizen; litigation partners Aidan Synnott, Richard Rosen and Geoffrey Chepiga, and counsel Peter Jaffe, Steven Herzog and Rachel Fiorill; intellectual property partner Charles Googe; real estate partner Peter Fisch; personal representation partner Alan Halperin and counsel Emma Sobol; environmental counsel William O’Brien; antitrust counsel Yuni Sobel and Marta Kelly.

Wachtell Lipton’s team advising Sanderson Farms was led by corporate Partners David A. Katz and Alison Zieske Preiss and included Natalie S.Y. Wong, Associate, Stefan A. Rajiyah, Associate, Sarah T. Fellay, Summer Associate (Corporate), Nelson O. Fitts, Partner, Monica L. Smith, Associate (Antitrust), Adam J. Shapiro, Partner, Brian Diliberto, Associate (Executive Compensation and Benefits), Michael S. Benn, Partner, Benjamin J. Nickerson, Associate (Finance), Tijana J. Dvornic, Partner, Sarah Perez Berger, Law Clerk (Tax).

Fishman Haygood’s team was led by partners Louis Y. Fishman and Maureen Brennan Gershanik.

Involved fees earner: Maureen Brennan Gershanik – Fishman Haygood; Louis Fishman – Fishman Haygood; Ron Aizen – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Oliver Board – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Geoffrey Chepiga – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; David Curtiss – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Thomas de la Bastide – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Rachel Fiorill – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Peter Fisch – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Andrew Gaines – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Charles Googe – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Alan Halperin – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Philip Heimowitz – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Steven Herzog – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Peter Jaffe – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Patrick Karsnitz – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Marta Kelly – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Stephen Koo – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; William O’Brien – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Richard Rosen – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Raphael Russo – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Yuni Sobel – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Emma Sobol – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Scott Sontag – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Aidan Synnott – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Steven Williams – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Michael Benn – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Brian Diliberto – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Tijana Dvornic – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Nelson Fitts – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; David Katz – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Benjamin Nickerson – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Stefan Rajiyah – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Adam Shapiro – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Monica Smith – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Natalie Wong – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Alison Zieske Preiss – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz;

Law Firms: Fishman Haygood; Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz;

Clients: Continental Grain Company Corp.; Sanderson Farms; Wayne Farms;

Author: Martina Bellini