Sanderson Farms merges with another chicken giant after acquisition

Sanderson Farms was acquired by Cargill and Continental Grain Co. on Friday, July 22, 2022.

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Sanderson Farms was acquired by Cargill and Continental Grain Co. on Friday, July 22, 2022.

New firm Wayne-Sanderson Farms will be headquartered in Georgia.

Two of the world’s biggest food conglomerates announced Friday that they have acquired Sanderson Farms and will merge it with another major chicken producer, forming a new poultry giant that will be headquartered in Georgia.

Sanderson Farms — the country’s third-largest chicken producer, which runs hatcheries, feed mills and chicken processing plants in south Georgia and across the Southeast — was purchased by Cargill, the U.S.’ largest privately held food producer and Continental Grain Company, the global food and agribusiness company.

As part of the deal, Sanderson Farms will be combined with Wayne Farms, another large poultry producer and a subsidiary of Continental.

The companies said the new joint venture between Cargill and Continental will be headquartered in Oakwood, near Gainesville and will be called Wayne-Sanderson Farms. The new company will operate chicken plants and manufacture prepared foods across Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas.

In 2021, federal data shows Georgia was the top producer of broiler chickens in the country.

Clint Rivers, the current the CEO of Wayne Farms, will lead Wayne-Sanderson Farms.

“The new company is ideally positioned to continue to serve customers and consumers with high-quality and affordable products,” Rivers said in a news release.

As a result of the transaction, Sanderson Farms’ shares will no longer trade on the NASDAQ starting Friday.

Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., the company’s president and the grandson of its founder, said in a news release that it had been an honor to lead his family’s business.

“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,” he said.