Poultry giant Sanderson Farms Inc. is exploring a sale, according to people familiar with the matter, as demand for chicken products rises.
Sanderson Farms has tapped Centerview Partners for advice on the potential sale and has attracted interest from suitors including agricultural investment firm Continental Grain Co., which owns a smaller chicken processor, the people said. The process may not result in a sale.
Mississippi-based Sanderson, the third-biggest U.S. chicken producer by processing capacity, had a market value of around $3.5 billion Monday afternoon, and a buyer would be expected to pay a premium to that.
Demand for chicken breasts, wings and other products has increased as pandemic restrictions lift and restaurants reopen, boosting sales and prices. At the same time, consumers have continued spending more on groceries as many are still working from home. The cost of boneless, skinless chicken breast has more than doubled since the beginning of the year and wing prices have hit records.
That helped Sanderson report better-than-expected sales and profit last month.