The initial public offering recently postponed by U.S. Premium Beef would have added another layer of complexity to the already convoluted ownership structure of one of the country's largest beef packers.

The underlying asset is the National Beef Packing Co., a major processor with revenues of about $5.4 billion in its most recent fiscal year.

The majority of the National Beef Packing Co. is owned by U.S. Premium Beef, but two other companies are minority owners, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

U.S. Premium Beef, meanwhile, is a former cooperative of cattlemen who are now "unit holders" in a limited liability company.

The proposed deal involved the creation of yet another entity: a holding company named National Beef Inc.

By selling 17.25 million shares of its stock to the public, the holding company was expected to raise up to $290 million.

The holding company would have used part of the money to buy about 28 percent to 31 percent of the National Beef Packing Co. from its founding members.

That stake would be the sole asset of the holding company, which would have been traded publicly on the NYSE under the symbol "NBP."

-- Mateusz Perkowski

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