Northwest Arkansas' Biggest Companies Continue Adding to Portfolios

Northwest Arkansas' two largest companies have made five major acquisitions in nine months, expanding their already impressive operations across the U.S.

Walmart's purchases of Jet.com, ShoeBuy, Moosejaw and Modcloth was joined on Tuesday by the biggest of them all: The $4.2 billion acquisition of Cincinnati-based AdvancePierre by Springdale-based Tyson Foods.

In Tuesday's deal, Tyson Foods, Inc. and AdvancePierre Foods Holdings, Inc. announced that they had entered into a definitive merger agreement. The New York Times said Tyson Foods had "found a delectable new bite to swallow in its quest to become America’s premier protein provider from the farmyard to the kitchen table."

The $4.2 billion value of the transaction, which has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, includes $3.2 billion in equity value and $1.1 billion in assumption of AdvancePierre debt. 

“We are very pleased to announce this combination with AdvancePierre," said Tom Hayes, Tyson Foods president and CEO. "The AdvancePierre leadership team has created significant value through the implementation of a new business management model, focus on quality and service and attention to the growth opportunities in convenience foods.  The addition of AdvancePierre aligns with our strategic intent to sustainably feed the world with the fastest growing portfolio of protein-packed brands."

While the Tyson Foods acquisition is the biggest of the deals, Walmart made four major acquisitions in just eight months.

The biggest of the Walmart deals came in August when it acquired Jet.com for $3 billion in cash and another $300 million in Walmart stock. Walmart described the deal as one that positioned the company well for expanded e-commerce growth and customer reach.

In January, Walmart acquired Boston-based footwear retailer ShoeBuy for about $70 million. It was viewed as a way to make Walmart even stronger with its online shoe sales business.

Walmart waited only a month before announcing the $51 million acquisition of Michigan-based Moosejaw, a leading online outdoor retailer. Moose jaw sells more than 400 brands, including Patagonia, The North Face and Marmot. The company's 350-plus employee remain in Michigan and continue to operate the Moosejaw website.

Walmart just last month took in womenswear website ModCloth. Neither company revealed the financial terms of that deal. The Los Angeles Times reported that Walmart was gaining "style cred with a string of e-commerce purchases" that included the ModCloth purchase.

Just as Walmart has said the acquisitions fit well within their e-commerce goals, Tyson Foods said AdvancePierre is a good one for the company.

"We believe that AdvancePierre and Tyson are a natural strategic fit and together will accelerate growth for customers by delivering on-trend, high-quality products consumers love," Hayes said.

AdvancePierre President and CEO Christopher D. Sliva said, “We couldn’t be more delighted to join Tyson.  By combining our complementary, market-leading portfolios, both companies will realize greater opportunities.  This combination will allow AdvancePierre to accelerate its growth and broaden its distribution network by leveraging Tyson’s existing distribution infrastructure and go-to-market capabilities.  Importantly, the transaction also offers compelling and certain value for our shareholders and will provide long-term benefits for our team members and customers.”