Tyson Foods Makes $4.2 Billion Offer for IBP

Tyson Foods Inc. CEO John Tyson said in 1999 that his company would be in a position to "go out and get somebody" when it knocked its debt below $1.7 billion.

The Springdale company has done so, cutting its red ink to $1.36 billion, and last week it announced an offer to acquire all outstanding common stock of IBP Inc.

The proposed transaction would have a value of $4.2 billion, including the assumption of $1.4 billion of IBP debt. Tyson believes it can finance the cash portion of the purchase from readily available sources.

IBP, based in Dakota Dunes, S.D., generated $14.1 billion in sales in 1999. The company, which employs 49,000, has more than 60 production sites in North America, joint ventures in China, Ireland and Russia, and sales offices worldwide.

The company has four business segments: the IBP Fresh Meats Co., Foodbrands America Inc., the Consumer Branded Products Group and the IBP International Sales Co.

IBP and Tyson have crossed paths previously. Tyson purchased Hudson Foods in January 1998 following Hudson's disaster at one of its plants in Columbus, Neb., where 25 million pounds of hamburger was recalled because of concerns about E. coli contamination. IBP bought the Columbus plant.