Chiquita, famous for its bananas, is planning to merge with Fyffes, but Brazilian billionaires Joseph Safra and Jean Louis Curtrale are trying to derail the deal, and are going so far as to ignore the board and make direct appeals to shareholders. The proposed buyout by Fyffes is $1 billion, and Safra and Curtrale have competing bids, although some say Chiquita is likely only to accept the Brazilian bid if it is at least $16 a share, over the amount the two are willing to pay, at least for now.
The board has been staunchly supportive of the deal, and Safra and Curtrale are seeking proxy votes from shareholders by implying that the merger could jeopardize Chiquita’s history of providing significant return for shareholders. Their special meeting with shareholders is expected to take place on September 17. Safra and Curtrale are also arguing that Fyffes, which is smaller than Chiquita, got a better end of the deal than Chiquita, since the offer gives no Chiquita no premium, but the deal values Fyffes’ shares at a 45-67% premium.
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