SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — Marfrig Alimento S.A., a Brazilian meat processing company, has acquired Keystone Foods L.L.C., West Conshohocken, Pa., for $1.26 billion. Keystone Foods is the largest privately held meat processor in the United States with annual sales estimated at $6.4 billion.

“The global food market is growing and Brazil has capitalized on this growth by strategically consolidating within the protein industry,” said Marcos Molina, chairman and president of Marfrig. “By adding the resources and expertise of Keystone Foods and its management team, we are expanding Marfrig’s business with a scale and sustainable supply chain needed to meet the very significant growth opportunities within the industry and to attend the needs of our global clients.”

Keystone Foods is a processor and distributor of beef, poultry, pork and seafood to the retail and food service channels. The company counts chains such as McDonald’s Corp., Oak Brook, Ill.; Subway, Milford, Conn.; and Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky., among its customer base.

“We are very excited about the opportunities that this transaction creates for Keystone Foods and Marfrig,” said Jerry Dean, chief executive officer of Keystone Foods. “Bringing these two world class companies together will benefit our customers and our employees globally.”

Marfrig is the second Brazil-based company to make a significant investment in the U.S. meat and poultry industry. In 2007, JBS S.A., Sao Paulo, acquired Swift & Co., the third largest red meat processor in the United States, for approximately $1.5 billion. In 2009, JBS also acquired a majority stake in Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., Pittsburg, Texas, for approximately $800 million.