Chiquita OKs $681M deal with 2 Brazilian bidders

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NEW YORK — Chiquita Brands International Inc. has agreed to sell itself to two Brazilian companies for about $681 million, just days after the fresh produce company’s shareholders rejected plans to merge with Irish fruit importer Fyffes.

Chiquita said Monday that it will be acquired by investment firm Safra Group and juice company Cutrale Group for $14.50 per share, a 2 percent premium to its Friday closing price of $14.16.

The companies put the transaction’s value at about $1.3 billion, including the assumption of Chiquita’s debt.

Chiquita’s board unanimously approved the deal, which is targeted to close by the end of the year or in early 2015.

On Friday Chiquita and Fyffes PLC gave notice to terminate their proposed merger agreement after Chiquita’s stockholders didn’t approve a revised transaction agreement between the two companies during a special shareholders meeting.

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