Saying $14 per share was “inadequate,” officials at Chiquita Brands International Inc. declined an offer from Brazilian investors and told them they were disappointed officials from Cutrale Group and Safra Group declined an invitation to negotiate.
Chiquita’s board of directors unanimously rejected the buyout offer from the Brazilian juice giant and banker and reaffirmed its recommendation that stockholders approve a deal with Fyffes Plc. of Dublin, according to an Oct. 16 news release.
The stockholders' vote is set for 9 a.m. Eastern Oct. 24.
“… the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group’s offer of $14 per share is inadequate and not in the best interests of Chiquita shareholders,” board chairwoman Kerri Anderson and CEO Ed Lonergan wrote to the would-be buyers, according to a transcript of the letter.
“Further, the (Chiquita) board is disappointed that you declined our recent invitation to engage with us about ways to improve your offer and address our concerns.”
Anderson and Lonergan’s letter reiterated strong support of the merger with Fyffes, saying updated projections show the deal would provide shareholders with a “low end” estimate of $15.59 pro forma share price. The cash price Fyffes will pay if the deal is approved is $13 per share.
“The Cutrale/Safra offer, in our judgment, is not a compelling alternative to ChiquitaFyffes as it limits the ability of Chiquita shareholders to realize the long-term value,” according to the letter.
“Chiquita is in the midst of a turnaround and is also about to close on a combination with Fyffes that would create a leading global produce company with financial flexibility, significant cash flows and a more efficient capital structure.”