This story has been updated.
Activist investor Starboard Value LP is pushing Smithfield Foods, Inc. (NYSE:SFD) to split itself up and offer itself to other bidders, rather than proceed with a $4.7 billion takeover by China’s Shuanghui International Holdings, Ltd. (SHE:000895)
In a letter to the Smithfield board obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Starboard Chief Executive Jeffrey Smith argues that Smithfield could be worth $7.1 billion, if split off correctly.
That means the company could be bought out at $44 to $55 per share, instead of Shuanghui’s offer of $34 per share.
According to the letter, Starboard has taken a 5.7 percent stake in Smithfield, making it one of the company’s largest investors.
In an email to the IBTimes, Smithfield spokesperson Keira Lombardo confirmed the board received and would review the Starboard letter.
Lombardo said the board still backed the Shuanghui deal over other scenarios, writing: "The strategic combination with Shuanghui provides Smithfield shareholders with significant, immediate, and certain cash value for their investment. Smithfield's board of directors with the outcome of the process it followed leading to this transaction, including the consideration of several different separation scenarios."
Shuanghui declined to comment to the Wall Street Journal.
Smithfield opposed a similar push earlier this year by Continental Grain Co., which also argued for a Smithfield breakup in March.