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Sanderson Farms Nears $4.5 Billion Sale, Report Says

Chicken producer Sanderson Farms is close to agreeing to a deal to sell itself for about $4.5 billion.

Chicken producer Sanderson Farms  (SAFM) - Get Free Report is reportedly close to reaching an agreement to sell itself for about $4.5 billion.

The Laurel, Miss., company, which is completing discussions with possible suitors including Cargill and Continental Grain, could finalize a deal by Monday, unnamed sources have told the Wall Street Journal. The sale price would value the company at about $203 a share.

Sanderson, the country's third-largest chicken producer, processes about 13.6 million chickens per week in its 13 poultry plants. It provides poultry products to supermarket chains Walmart  (WMT) - Get Free Report and Albertsons  (ACI) - Get Free Report, as well restaurant suppliers Sysco and US Foods  (USFD) - Get Free Report.  

A sale of Sanderson to Continental, which owns poultry producer Wayne Farms, would create a company representing about 15% of the U.S. chicken production market, the report said. The chicken industry's top producer Tyson Foods  (TSN) - Get Free Report holds about 20% of the market, while Pilgrim's Pride  (PPC) - Get Free Report has about 16%.

Shares of Sanderson on Friday closed up 0.6% to $182.37.