Poultry processor, Inghams Enterprises, has been sold to a US private equity group, TPG, for approximately $850m.
Before sealing the deal with TPG, Inghams was in negotiations with other prospective buyers including Chinese agribusiness company New Hope, and US private equiteer Blackstone.
According to The Australian, major shareholder Bob Ingham planned to sell the family's land holdings and horse-racing interests in the deal, which was originally expected to fetch more than $1 billion, but will now retain them after TPG requested they be excised from the sale.
The existing management structure at Inghams will be retained and Ingham said it will be business as usual for the company, founded in 1918, and now under the direction of chief executive officer Kevin McBain and his team.
"An important part of the decision for me was finding a buyer who would ensure that our customers will continue to receive the highest level of service and our employees would be well looked after," Ingham said. "I believe I have found that in TPG."
The Inghams sale is the biggest private equity deal in the Australian market since the sale of Primo Smallgoods in 2011, which garnered more than $900m, and could indicate renewed confidence in the food manufacturing industry, which has struggled in recent times with competition from imports and pressure from the supermarket duopoly to lower prices.