Bid to scup­per Chiq­uita and Fyffes merger

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - BUSINESS NEWS - MARK PAUL

Merg­ers Chiq­uita Brands, the US fruit company whose share­hold­ers are due to vote to­day on a pro­posed $1 bil­lion merger with Ir­ish ri­val Fyffes, yes­ter­day re­ceived a fresh cash of­fer from two Brazil­ian billionaires.

Safra group, con­trolled by fi­nancier Joseph Safra, and Cu­trale, run by orange juice mag­nate Jose Luis Cu­trale, have raised their of­fer for Chiq­uita from $14 to $14.50 a share, valu­ing it at $682 mil­lion.

The Brazil­ians said the of­fer would re­main open un­til Sun­day, two days be­fore Fyffes share­hold­ers are due to vote in Dublin on the pro­posed merger, which has been in the pipe­line since March.

Chiq­uita’s board said it would “care­fully con­sider” the fresh of­fer after pre­vi­ously re­ject­ing the $14 of­fer in favour of stick­ing with the pro­posed deal to cre­ate Chiq­ui­taFyffes, which would be head­quar­tered in Dublin and run by Fyffes chair­man David McCann.

In an at­tempt to head off the Brazil­ian bid to scup­per their merger, Fyffes and Chiq­uita last month re­vised the terms of the deal to give Chiq­uita share­hold­ers a big­ger slice of Chiq­ui­taFyffes, close to 60 per cent. It was pre­vi­ously due to get just over half of the merged company.

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