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Chiquita: Goodbye, Fyffes; Hello, Cutrale-Safra

Chiquita: Goodbye, Fyffes; Hello, Cutrale-Safra

Charlotte, NC – Shareholders of Chiquita Brands International have done an about-face in rejecting the global fruit producer’s proposed acquisition of Ireland-based rival Fyffes PLC.

The company has said it will, instead, enter into negotiations with Cutrale-Safra, a consortium made up of The Cutrale Group, a little-known Brazilian fruit wholesaler, and the Safra Group, a private investment company.

Since March, Chiquita remained focused on pursuing its planned acquisition of Fyffes for $526 million.

Chiquita-Fyffes merger would have expanded Chiquita’s reach deep into Europe, creating the largest banana-producer-distributor in the world with generating an estimated $4.6 billion in revenue annually.

In addition, the North Carolina-headquartered company would have had the opportunity to reincorporate in Ireland and gain significant tax considerations in a so-called ‘inversion’ transaction.

Now, instead of remaining a public company and reincorporating abroad, Chiquita will reportedly pay Fyffes a multimillion-dollar termination fee and be taken private.

The Cutrale-Safra group appeared relatively late after Chiquita had made its bid for Fyffes, offering an all-cash deal with no financing conditions, and closure of the deal within the calendar year.

Until now, Chiquita’s board had consistently rejected Cutrale-Safra’s bids as too low, including a recent bid of $14.50 a share, up from the previous $14.00 bid. The most recent bid by the Brazilians values Chiquita at around $680 million.

Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, The Safra Group, with $200 billion in assets, operates the Safra National Bank of New York; Banco Safra in Brazil; Bank Jacob Safra in Switzerland; real estate and farmland on several continents; and a variety of other holdings.