RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Smithfield Foods has completed the sale of the world's largest pork producer and processor to a Chinese company.

The Smithfield, Va., company and Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. announced that the deal closed on Thursday. It is the largest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm, valued at about $7.1 billion including debt.

CEO Larry Pope says the deal will unlock growth opportunities in the Chinese pork market.

The buyout comes amid food safety problems in China. Shuanghui is the largest shareholder of China's biggest meat processor.

Smithfield shareholders on Tuesday voted to approve Shuanghui's offer of $34 per share. A U.S. committee that reviews mergers between American companies and those overseas already also cleared the deal.

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