But Maxwell Farms isn’t interested in selling its majority stake, according to a report in The Virginia Pilot.
"We believe in the long-term business outlook of Butterball, and we are currently pursuing several opportunities that will allow us to proceed with our desire to be the buyer of Butterball," said Walter Pelletier, president of Maxwell Farms, in a statement. He described Butterball as "the strongest brand in the turkey industry."
Pope said Butterball has been "underinvested in" and needs a new management structure. Maxwell Farms must respond by September. If it rejects Smithfield's offer, Pope said Smithfield would sell its share of the Butterball business.