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(July 30, 2001) -- Poultry producer Tyson Foods' fiscal third-quarter earnings fell substantially vs. year ago as a result of costs from a legal battle over the purchase of pork and beef processor IBP, promotional expenses in its food-service arena and a glut in the chicken-breast market.

The company reported earnings of $19.4 million for the quarter ended June 30 compared with $40.5 million a year ago.

Tyson spent nearly $13 million in legal fees surrounding the acquisition of IBP, a deal the company tried to back out of in March, citing breach of agreement, but was forced back into by a judge's ruling in June.

The acquisition, which will make Tyson the largest U.S. meat company, is expected to be completed by early October, Chief Financial Officer Steve Hankins said in a conference call earlier today. -- stephanie Thompson

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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