Atlas Holdings to Buy Chicken Company Foster Farms

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The deal takes place as chicken prices have surged, driven by strong consumer demand and rising grain prices.



Photo:

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Foster Farms, a West Coast-based chicken company, has agreed to a takeover by private-equity firm Atlas Holdings and will install former

Tyson Foods Inc.

TSN 1.03%

chief

Donnie Smith

as its leader.

The deal takes place as chicken prices have surged, driven by strong consumer demand and rising grain prices. Another major chicken deal, the planned $4.5 billion takeover of

Sanderson Farms Inc.

SAFM 0.39%

by Cargill Inc. and agricultural investment firm Continental Grain Co., remains under review as regulators evaluate its impact on competition in the sector.

Financial terms of the Foster deal weren’t disclosed.

Donnie Smith, in 2012, during his tenure as Tyson Foods CEO.



Photo:

Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

Livingston, Calif.-based Foster Farms was recently listed as the 10th largest U.S. chicken producer by pounds produced, according to meat industry publication Watt Poultry USA. The company employs about 10,000 workers and operates processing facilities in California, Washington, Louisiana, Oregon and Alabama. It will continue to operate under the Foster Farms name.

The company’s incoming chief executive, Mr. Smith, is a veteran of the meat industry having spent more than three decades with Tyson. He was named Tyson’s CEO in 2009, a role he held until his retirement in 2016. He helped steer the company through a tough patch for the chicken industry after he took the reins in 2009.

Write to Patrick Thomas at [email protected]

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