Pilgrim's Pride has engaged Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher for PR counsel in its $6.4B hostile bid for Hillshire Brands.

Greeley, Colo.-based Pilgrim's Pride, the No. 2 chicken producer globally, went public with its $45-per-share, all-cash offer on May 27, just two weeks after meat products marketer Hillshire moved on rival Pinnacle Foods with a proposed $4.3B acquisition.

[Updated 5/29: Tyson Foods entered the fray with a $50-per-share bid for Hillshire on May 29. Gary Mickelson, senior director of PR for Tyson, said the company did not bring in a PR firm specifically for the transaction, but noted FleishmanHillard provides PR support on an ongoing basis.]

Hillshire, which said it is working with Sard Verbinnen & Co's Chicago office, said it will "thoroughly review" the Pilgrim's Pride offer. "We continue to believe in the strategic merits and value creation potential provided by the proposed transaction with Pinnacle Foods," Chicago-based Hillshire said in a statement.

The New York Times noted Pilgrim's Pride wants to take advantage of "restiveness" among Hillshire shareholders over the Pinnacle deal.

Pilgrim's Pride said the combined company would have sales of $12.4B. Hillshire brands include Jimmy Dean, BallPark and the flagship Hillshire Farm.