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Chiquita Postpones Meeting as Fyffes Allows Cutrale Talks

Published on Sep 8 2014 2:22 PM in Food

Chiquita Postpones Meeting as Fyffes Allows Cutrale Talks

Chiquita Brands International Inc. postponed a shareholder vote on its plan to buy Fyffes Plc while it seeks talks with a Brazilian group that made an unsolicited $614 million proposal to acquire Chiquita.

Chiquita has been granted a waiver by Dublin-based Fyffes to talk with Cutrale Group and Safra Group, the North Carolina-based company said today in a statement. It has also sent a letter to Cutrale and Safra offering an opportunity to conduct due diligence and make a “final and best” offer.

A planned 17 Sept. meeting for Chiquita investors to vote on the Fyffes deal has been postponed. Fyffes has proposed to adjourn a meeting of its shareholders, which also had been set for 17 Sept. Chiquita said it continues to support the Fyffes takeover, which would create the largest banana company.

“We continue to believe that the Fyffes/Chiquita combination is highly attractive and would require a bid of in excess of $16 from Cutrale-Safra to match the economics of the merger,” David Holohan, an analyst at Merrion Capital in Dublin, said today.

Cutrale, a closely held company controlled by Brazil’s Jose Luis Cutrale, and banks owned by Joseph Safra, the country’s second-richest man, made a joint bid of $13 a share for Chiquita on 11 Aug. Their proposal would combine Chiquita with Cutrale, a company that controls more than one-third of the global orange-juice market, and kill the Fyffes deal, which had been agreed upon in March.

Proxy adviser Institutional Investor Services Inc. said 5 Sept. that Chiquita shareholders should reject the Fyffes deal and instead pursue a buyout offer from Cutrale and Safra.

Bloomberg News, edited by Hospitality Ireland

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