U.S. Premium Beef LLC and National Beef Packing Co. LLC announced that the owners of National Beef have entered into a Membership Interest Purchase Agreement with Leucadia National Corp. under which Leucadia will acquire approximately 79% of the outstanding ownership interests in National Beef. The operations and management structure of National Beef will remain unchanged.

"This transaction will enable us to address the liquidity desires of USPB's diverse producer ownership base while maintaining our highly successful cattle supply system and a sizable investment in beef processing," Steve Hunt, CEO of USPB, said in making the announcement. "Leucadia is a diversified holding company engaged in a variety of businesses; its broad and deep experience will enhance our partnership. Our goals for the future of National Beef are aligned and we look forward to a long and successful partnership."

Tim M. Klein, President and CEO of National Beef, will continue in that role upon completion of the transaction. "I look forward to Leucadia joining our ownership group and bringing its unique perspective to our industry. The addition of Leucadia will widen the scope of opportunities available to us and will further strengthen our ability to expand our business and solidify our position as the premier global beef processor."

Leucadia is a holding company with ownership interests in many different industries, including the energy, timber, entertainment, plastics, mortgage and mining sectors. It has its headquarters in New York City and an additional office in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The transaction is subject to certain conditions and will require customary regulatory approvals. It is expected to close by the end of calendar year 2011.

Sources: National Beef, Leucadia National Corp.