LAUREL, MISSISSIPPI, US — A joint venture between Continental Grain Co., New York, New York, US, and Cargill, Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, has finalized its acquisition of poultry processor Sanderson Farms, Inc. for $4.5 billion. With the closing of the transaction, Sanderson Farms has been combined with Wayne Farms, a subsidiary of Continental Grain, to form a new privately held poultry business that is called Wayne-Sanderson Farms with headquarters in Oakwood, Georgia, US.

The transaction was first announced in August 2021, but was delayed in December 2021 as the US Department of Justice sought additional information before clearing the deal.

As previously announced, Clint Rivers, chief executive officer of Wayne Farms, will lead the combined companies as CEO.

“I am honored to lead the new Wayne-Sanderson Farms, which brings together a talented team with complementary operations and cultures and a strong commitment to employees, farmers and the communities where we operate,” Rivers said. “The new company is ideally positioned to continue to serve customers and consumers with high-quality and affordable products.”

Sanderson Farms had sales of $3.56 billion in fiscal 2020. The company has 13 processing plants, the capacity to process 1.3 million birds per week and employs approximately 17,000.

“It has been an incredible privilege to lead the Sanderson Farms team over the last 33 years and to continue my family’s legacy by helping to nourish families across the country,” said Joe F. Sanderson, chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms, Inc. “I am proud of all we have achieved together, and I am confident that the fairness, honesty and integrity that has been synonymous with the Sanderson Farms name will carry on with Wayne-Sanderson Farms.”

Based in Oakwood, Wayne Farms had sales of $2.2 billion in 2020, has 11 plants and employs approximately 9,000.

Cargill has committed to supporting the new joint venture with its relationships with retail and foodservice customers.