While we don't believe in paying too much attention to buyout rumors and speculating on potential takeover targets, Fools should definitely try to keep up with M&A news that is officially announced -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Activist shareholder Starboard Value, which was trying to block the $4.7 billion sale of Smithfield Foods (UNKNOWN:UNKNOWN) to Chinese pork producer Shuanghui International, said in a regulatory filing on Friday that it couldn't find a better offer to bring to the table.

So what: As a result, Starboard -- which owns 5.7% of Smithfield -- said that it will now vote in favor of the deal "unless another proposal emerges," essentially removing the acquisition's last real roadblock. After all, Smithfield had already jumped its biggest hurdle when the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. gave the purchase clearance earlier this month, so Starboard's concession pretty much just seals the deal.  

Now what: Smithfield shareholders are scheduled to vote on the acquisition on Sept. 24. "In light of the restrictions imposed by the merger agreement between the Issuer and Shuanghui, and the requirement of structuring a cash bid from a single entity, it proved challenging for the bidder group to formalize and deliver an alternative proposal prior to the special meeting," Starboard said in a Friday filing. "While we are confident that the Issuer could have received value in excess of that available pursuant to the Proposed Merger, we are not able to offer shareholders an alternative proposal at this time." So while Smithfield is likely all popped out at this point, meat peers like Hormel and Tyson Foods might be worth looking into for some hidden value.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.