Smithfield rose 80 cents, or 5.4 percent, to $15.68 at 10:54 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares earlier gained as much as 8.9 percent, the biggest intraday increase since Nov. 11.
The newspaper didn’t say where it got the information. Smithfield’s policy is not to comment on “marketplace rumors,” Keira Ullrich, a spokeswoman at the Smithfield, Virginia-based company, said today in an e-mail. JBS also declined comment, Jerry O’Callaghan, the investor relations director, said in a telephone interview.
JBS, the world’s biggest beef producer, bought Smithfield’s Beef operations in 2008 for $565 million and paid $800 million for control of U.S. chicken processor Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. in 2009. Acquiring Smithfield would “substantially” expand Sao Paulo-based JBS’s operations in Europe and the U.S., Farha Aslam, an analyst at Stephens Inc. in New York, wrote in a report.
The deal “would align with JBS’s strategy of global footprint expansion,” Aslam said.
JBS fell 4.8 percent to 7.62 reais at 11:03 a.m. New York time in Sao Paulo trading.