Animal Farm Deal on Hold While SEC Looks at Books

Tyson Foods, the nation's largest poultry producer, is planning an acquisition of IBP Inc., the nation's largest beefpacker, as soon as the SEC lets go of IBP's financial statements.

Although it might seem like a meat match made in food heaven, late last year the SEC began an investigation into some of IBP's accounting practices, including the recording of IBP's acquisition of DFG Foods, a Chicago hors d'oervre maker. The SEC is analyzing a possible $47 million charge that IBP may take relating to the sale. IBP recorded a $9 million charge last year relating to what was described by the PricewaterhouseCoopers audit team as "overstated inventory value."

IBP reportedly may take an additional $108 million loss against 2000 income as it tries to clean up accounting irregularities in the books of DFG Foods.

Tyson's acquisition of IBP is valued at $3.2 billion, but completion of the food giant's offer, set to expire next week, is awaiting the SEC examination.

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