Chiquita Shareholders Voted Down Fyffes in 2-to-1 Ratio

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer/MCT) -

Shareholders of Charlotte, N.C.-based Chiquita Brands International decisively voted down the company’s planned merger with an Irish produce company, rejecting the deal in a 2-to-1 ratio, securities filings Tuesday showed.

The company had been trying to merge with Dublin-based Fyffes in an all-stock deal. But two rival Brazilian firms, orange-juice maker Cutrale and banking conglomerate the Safra Group, made an unsolicited, all-cash offer to buy the company for $14.50 a share, or $680 million.

Chiquita had fought off the Brazilians’ offer, and analysts speculated Friday that the vote was likely close. But Tuesday’s filing showed almost 26 million shares voted against the Fyffes deal, while 12.5 million voted in favor.

On Monday, Chiquita accepted the offer from Cutrale and Safra. The companies expect to close their acquisition of Chiquita by the end of this year or early next year.