Brazilian meat processorMarfrig Alimentos S.A., Sao Paulo, said it agreed to purchase U.S. foodservice  protein supplierKeystone Foods LLC, West Conshohocken, Pa., for $1.26 billion. Officials said the deal is subject to government approvals.

With 2009 net revenues of $6.4 billion, Keystone is the United States' largest privately held meat company, officials said. A global company, Keystone processes and distributes poultry, beef, fish, pork and other products to such customers as McDonald's Corp., Subway, Yum Brands and Chipotle. It serves more than 28,000 restaurants in 13 countries.

It also co-manufactures products for Campbell Soup and ConAgra, officials said.

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

Jerry Dean, Keystone, CEO, added, "We are very excited about the opportunities that this transaction creates for Keystone Foods and Marfrig. Bringing these two world class companies together will benefit our customers and employees globally."

To finance the deal, Marfrig said it will issue R$2.5 billion (approximately US $1.3 billion) through a private subscription of five-year mandatory convertible debentures.