Barbara Young
The National Provisioner

My reality

The answer to my question about what would happen if the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) should block the JBS S.A. bid to acquire two U.S. beef companies (National Beef Packing Co., Smithfield Beef Group and Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding LLC) came in late October with the news of a civil antitrust lawsuit. (See my Editor’s Journal in the November 2008 issue — coming online soon — for background on this topic.)

DOJ filed the suit in Chicago’s U.S. District Court singled out the National Beef part of the deal. DOJ determined that allowing the Brazilian company’s acquisition would reportedly “lessen competition among packers in the purchase of cattle that has been critical to ensuring competitive prices to the nation’s thousands of producers, ranchers and feedlots.”

My new question is this: In a global economy, what is the long-term threat when foreign buyers penetrate the United States to gain ownership control of parts of its industrial landscape? Moreover, does it matter if those foreign buyers rescue failing companies, save jobs and continue contributing to a community’s tax base?

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