Cutrale-Safra wins battle for Chiquita in $1.3 billion deal

lunes 27 de octubre de 2014 09:08 GYT

By Guillermo Parra-Bernal

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian juice maker Grupo Cutrale and investment firm Safra Group agreed on Monday to acquire U.S.-based banana producer Chiquita Brands International Inc CQB.N, in a deal valued at $1.3 billion.

Cutrale-Safra won an almost three month-long battle for control of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company, which rebuffed their three prior takeover attempts and sought to merge with rival Fyffes Plc FFY.I.

Chiquita will become a wholly owned unit of Cutrale-Safra and remain incorporated in New Jersey once the deal is finalized, according to a statement.

"To ensure Chiquita has the premier and most sustainable platform in its sector, Chiquita will be able to access Cutrale-Safra's substantial experience in all aspects of the fruit and juice value chain and extensive financial expertise," the statement added.

The acquisition is a victory for Brazilian-Lebanese financier Joseph Safra and orange juice baron Jose Luis Cutrale, who joined forces to add Chiquita to their orange, apple, peach, lemon and soybean business.

Shares of Chiquita gained over 40 percent since Aug. 11, when Cutrale-Safra made their takeover intentions public.

The stock closed at $14.16 on Friday.

Shares of Chiquita, whose Chairwoman Kerrii Anderson fiercely defended the Fyffes tie-up, shed two-thirds of their value over the past decade in the face of geopolitical instability in Latin America, price volatility and uneven demand for fresh produce around the world.   Continuación...