Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN:US), the largest U.S. meat company, may have its credit rating cut by Standard & Poor’s because it will have to take on more debt to finance its proposed $7.7 billion takeover of Hillshire Brands Inc.
Tyson’s BBB rating, two levels above junk, was put on Creditwatch with negative implications, S&P said today in a statement.
Tyson yesterday raised its offer for Hillshire to $63 a share, trumping Pilgrim’s Price Corp., the turkey producer controlled by Brazil’s JBS SA. Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson said yesterday that it’s prepared to sell debt and equity to finance the deal. Tyson also said it expects to use the combined companies’ cash flow to pay down its borrowings “rapidly” while keeping an investment-grade credit rating.
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