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AG hails cancellation of National Beef takeover

By Chris Rizo | Feb 20, 2009

Lori Swanson (D)

MINNEAPOLIS (Legal Newsline)-A Brazilian company has jettisoned its plans to acquire of one of the largest meat-packing companies in the United States, drawing praise from at least one state attorney general who opposed the deal.

"Today's development represents a significant victory for consumers and farmers alike, who will benefit from continued competition in the beef market," said Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, a Democrat.

JBS said it terminated its efforts to takeover National Beef Packing Co. amid unexpected fourth quarter losses of $119 million.

In October, 13 state attorneys general sued in U.S. District Court in Chicago to block JBS S.A., the world's largest beef producer, from acquiring National Beef.

The AGs alleged that the acquisition of Kansas City, Mo.-based National Beef Packing Co. by JBS would substantially lessen competition in violation of federal antitrust law.

"The State of Minnesota and the other plaintiffs will terminate the pending litigation following the lapse of the attempted transaction," Swanson said.

The plaintiffs had argued that if the acquisition were allowed, JBS and the remaining two large beef processors -- Tyson and Cargill -- would control more than 80 percent of U.S. fed cattle processing capacity.

The AGs' lawsuit arose out of a joint investigation among the U.S. Department of Justice and the attorneys general of Minnesota, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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