Tyson Foods has sold its 6.5% stake in Beyond Meat, as the latter readies a much-anticipated IPO that values it at over $1 billion.
According to Axios, which noticed that Tyson’s holding had disappeared on a recent IPO filing, there had long been tensions between the two companies: Tyson Foods has already announced that it will launch a plant-based product of its own, a potential competitor to Beyond Meat, while there were reportedly additional grumblings in the boardroom.
The meat processor’s exit was later confirmed in a statement released by Tyson Foods.
The saga casts doubt on the ability of traditional markets – like meat and dairy – to successfully invest in new and emerging alternative categories. There are prime examples – as well as Tyson’s investment in Beyond Meat, dairy company Dean Foods has invested heavily in flaxseed-based yogurt producer Good Karma.
As part of its upcoming IPO, Beyond Meat plans to offer 8.75 million shares at a range of $19-21 per share. That means the company would raise $175 million at the mid-point of that range and is valuing itself at anywhere up to $1.21 billion.
Tyson Foods provided the following statement to Axios: “Tyson Ventures is pleased with the investment in Beyond Meat and has decided the time is right to exit its investment. Beyond Meat provided an early opportunity for Tyson Ventures to invest in plant-based protein products that many consumers are seeking. We wish the leadership of Beyond Meat all the best.
“Tyson Foods continues to be committed to providing alternative protein as a choice for consumers and recently announced the creation of a new business focused on combining our creativity, scale and resources to make great tasting protein alternatives more accessible for everyone. We plan to launch an alternative protein product soon with market testing anticipated this summer.”
The company was at the forefront of a $55 million investment round at the end of 2017, which also included venture capital firm Cleveland Avenue.
At the time, Beyond Meat said it would use the money to treble Beyond Meat’s production, and further expand its commitment to creating meat from plants.
But the course of true love never did run smooth – and relations between Beyond Meat and its flagship investor reportedly soured.
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