Brazilian companies raise Chiquita offer to $681M

SHARE Brazilian companies raise Chiquita offer to $681M

NEW YORK — Brazilian companies Cutrale and Safra said they are again raising their bid for banana producer Chiquita, to $681 million — a day before Chiquita shareholders are expected to vote on a combination with Irish fruit importer Fyffes.

Chiquita said Thursday that it will review the latest offer. It has repeatedly rejected offers from investment firm Safra Group and juice company Cutrale Group, preferring to merge with Fyffes in an all-stock deal.

ChiquitaFyffes would be the world’s largest banana supplier, and the companies plan to incorporate in Dublin to take advantage of lower tax rates. Chiquita is now based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The latest bid from Safra and Cutrale is for $14.50 per Chiquita share, up from an offer of $14 per share earlier this month. They had bid $13 per share in August.

Chiquita shareholders are expected to vote on the Chiquita-Fyffes combination Friday.

On Monday proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services recommended that Chiquita investors support the Fyffes deal because it is the best option for shareholders. ISS had previously said shareholders should vote against the deal because Chiquita might get a better offer elsewhere.

Chiquita shares rose 97 cents, or 7.6 percent, to $13.71 in morning trading. The stock has ranged from $9.24 to $14.43 in the past 12 months.

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