Liu Yonghao, who started breeding quail and chickens in rural Sichuan Province, founded New Hope Group in 1982, and multiple reports have claimed his business could buy Moy Park for a fee in excess of $1bn.
The diversified Chinese conglomerate is a big player in agriculture, chemicals and real estate. It is regarded as one of the top 500 companies in China, with over 600 subsidiaries across 30 countries and a workforce of nearly 700,000. Its meat division processes 1.3 billion chickens and eight million pigs per year.
New Hope Group could not be reached for comment at the time of writing. A spokesperson for Moy Park said: “We do not comment on speculation.”
Moy Park’s parent company, Brazil-based JBS, put the Northern Irish chicken processor up for sale in June as part of a major divestment programme to raise $1.8bn to pay off big debts and shrink its business.
In the Brazilian meat giant’s second-quarter financial results, published earlier in August, the company said the sale of Moy Park was “still in progress and at an early stage”.
New Hope Group is just the latest company reportedly interested in Moy Park, which posted a rise in revenue in its latest batch of trading figures this month.
Chinese meat giant WH Group has also been rumoured to be interested in a takeover of Moy Park. The meat processor already owns one of the world’s largest pork companies in US-based Smithfield Foods, and multiple new organisations have tipped it as a potential buyer.
According to our sister site Meat Trades Journal, private equity firms Capvest Partners and Rutland Partners were circling Moy Park.
Other meat processors linked to a Moy Park takeover in the past have included BRF and Tyson Foods.