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Chiquita reject Cutrale, Irish deal on

Friday, August 15 10:21:40

Chiquita Brands International today said it has rejected an unsolicited offer from Brazilian juice giant, Cutrale, and will go ahead with its previously announced deal to acquire Ireland's Fyffes.

Earlier, the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group made an offer of $13 a share, or about $611 million, for Chiquita, throwing the Irish merger deal in to doubt.

The offer price represented a healthy premium over Chiquita's share price, which had slumped since announcing its deal for Fyffes.

But in a letter to Cutrale and Safra, and a news release, Chiquita said the offer was not in the best interest of its shareholders. Calling the bid "inadequate," Chiquita said it had no plans to allow Cutrale and Safra to conduct due diligence or to engage in deal talks.

At the same time, the Chiquita board reiterated its commitment to the Fyffes deal, which will allow the company to reincorporate in Ireland through an inversion, reducing its tax bill and giving it better access to overseas cash.

"Chiquita remains committed to completing its transaction with Fyffes, which it believes will create a combined company that is better positioned to succeed in a highly competitive marketplace while driving strong performance and value for shareholders," the company said.

Cutrale and Safra responded to Chiquita's letter by saying they were "extremely disappointed" and were "considering all alternatives to provide shareholders with the opportunity to send a clear message to the Chiquita board."

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