Arkansas Business

Tyson
Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods Inc. has signed a definitive deal to purchase Hillshire Brands Co. for $7.75 billion, two days after the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs was let out of its agreement to buy Pinnacle Foods.

Chicago-based Hillshire agreed to buy Pinnacle Foods Inc. for $4.23 billion in May. But then Tyson and Pilgrim's Pride got into a bidding war for Hillshire, with Hillshire accepting Tyson's $63 per share offer last month.

The city of Fort Smith is atop a latest ranking of the economic performance of Arkansas cities.

The Arkansas Tech Business Index tracks retail sales, construction, the housing market and unemployment rates of 16 Arkansas cities.

Ft. Smith beat out Bentonville, which had been atop previous months’ rankings in business activity. Mark Fusaro is an economist with Arkansas Tech and compiles the business index. He says Ft. Smith’s retail sales have always been strong.

Officials say Conway's new airport is set to open later this summer.

Airport manager Josh Zylks says Aug. 14 is the targeted opening date, though that may be pushed back because of recent rains. The new airport will be known as Cantrell Field and will be located in the Lollie Bottoms area of Conway.

City leaders had long talked about the need for a new airport, but the project was given more priority after a pilot crashed his plane into a home near Conway's current airport in 2007. The pilot was killed in the crash, along with a woman in the house.

Hillshire Brands Co. is backing off of its offer to buy Pinnacle Foods Inc., a move that it needs to make in order for its $7.75 billion proposed deal with Tyson Foods to go through.

Tyson won a bidding war with Pilgrim's Pride earlier this month to buy Hillshire, maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs. The final offer from Tyson Foods Inc. ended up at $63 per share, but it was contingent on Hillshire not going through with its bid for Pinnacle Foods, which makes Birds Eye frozen vegetables.

A public hearing is planned in Harrison on a proposed regulation that would ban large hog farms in the Buffalo River watershed.

The meeting is set for Tuesday evening in Harrison. The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission is considering a new regulation that would ban farms with 750-plus hogs weighing 55 pounds or more and farms with 3,000 or more hogs weighing less than 55 pounds.

A Denver-based company has announced plans to open a center in Sherwood and hire 250 workers.

TeleTech Holdings Inc. announced Monday that it would open a "customer experience center" in Sherwood in July. The facility will be located in the Wildwood Centre & Medical Tower and will represent a national health insurance client.

TeleTech is seeking job applicants who have life and health care licenses, but says prospective employees will have the opportunity to participate in TeleTech's training program to become licensed insurance agents.  

Tyson
Tyson Foods

Meat producer Tyson Foods Inc. of Arkansas has won a bidding war for Hillshire Brands, the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs, with a $63 per share offer.

Both Tyson and Pilgrim's Pride had been bidding of Hillshire Brands. Tyson had previously offered $50 per share for the company. Pilgrim's Pride then raised its bid to $55 per share.

Pilgrim's Pride says it is withdrawing its offer. The offer from Tyson is worth $7.75 billion based on Hillshire's 123 million shares outstanding. Tyson values the deal at $8.55 billion, including debt.

A railcar maintenance company is to locate in the former Nordex USA wind turbine plant in Jonesboro and pledges to hire up to 350 employees.

TrinityRail Maintenance Services Inc. announced Thursday that it would expand the facility to accommodate its planned scope of work.

TrinityRail is a subsidiary of Trinity Industries Inc. of Dallas. The company provides an array of industrial products, including railcars, barges, storage containers and other transportation-related goods and services.

arkansas.com

The ultimate biker song could serve as a marketing campaign for a new push from state tourism officials, reports Talk Business & Politics.

In the last two years, Arkansas has begun marketing its scenic highways to motorcyclists who are far from the drifter image painted in cult classic films like “Easy Rider.” We’re not talking Hell’s Angels, says Arkansas Tourism director Joe David Rice.

Economic development officials say a new rice mill is headed to Pine Bluff. The state announced Monday that Southwind Milling Co. LLC will build a rice mill at the city's port.

The corporation is part of Optimum Group, which has been farming in Mississippi Delta states since 2010.

Construction of the new mill is expected to begin immediately at the site in the Pine Bluff Port's Harbor Industrial District. Officials say the plant will be operational by February 2015 and will initially employ 25 people.

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