The shareholders of Smithfield Foods Inc have voted to approve a plan to sell the world’s largest pork producer and processor to Chinese company Shuanghui.
The Virginia, US-based company said that more than 96% of the votes cast during a special meeting on Tuesday were in favour of Shuanghui International Holdings $34 per share offer, which is worth $4.72 billion in cash (£2.95 billion).
The deal, which is expected to be finalised on Thursday, will be the largest takeover of a US company by a Chinese firm.
Smithfield’s sale to Hong Kong-based Shuanghui comes at a time of serious food safety problems in China, some of which have involved Shuanghui, which owns food and logistics operations and is the largest shareholder of China’s biggest meat processor.
Figures for 2012 put the Smithfield Foods US herd at 851,000 sows, and annual production at 15.8 million pigs.