Egg giant Cal-Maine Foods, which unlike some peers has grown profits despite high feed costs, unveiled its second takeover in three months, extending the round of deals in the agribusiness sector.
The world's biggest table egg group said that it had purchased the commercial egg operations of Texas-based Maxim Production, including a feed mill and two production complexes.
Counting in 500,000 birds tended separately on contract, the deal added capacity for 4m laying hens - making the acquisition nearly three times the size, on that basis, of the egg operations Cal-Maine bought from broiler meat group Pilgrim's Pride in July.
Dolph Baker, the Cal-Maine chairman and chief executive, said that the Maxim takeover "represents an excellent addition to Cal-Maine's operations," which "further advances our strategy to grow our business through selective acquisitions".
The deal represents the latest in a long-run of takeover activity in the agribusiness, most lately including the $133.1, purchase by ethanol-to-rail car group The Andersons on Monday of 12 grain elevators from Green Plains Renewable Energy.
Last week, Archer Daniels Midland revealed an approach for Australian grain handler GrainCorp.
The takeover spree comes amid a time of significant volatility, and market extremes, after a series of disappointing harvests, in North and South America, parts of Europe, the former Soviet Union, and with Australia's grains harvest looking set to fall well short of initial hopes.
In the livestock sector, the high grain prices forced by weak harvests, have cut margins at many producers, with placements of cattle on US feedlots slowing in September to their lowest for the month since records began in 1996.
In poultry, placements of eggs for growing into broiler chickens fell in the week to October 20 to 177m, the lowest weekly figure in more than five years, and a 3.5% drop year on year.
However, in the egg sector, Cal-Maine has fared relatively well in recent quarters, growing profits in part through a continued move upmarket which has allowed it to boost price growth.
The group has continued to voice its appetite for acquisitions, which Mr Baker has said he prefers to organic expansion in that they do not increase the overall size of US egg production capacity.
The latest deals representing a sharp pick-up on a historic rate of takeovers which, at 16 from 1989 until June, had averaged less than one a year.