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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cutrale-Safra raises offer for Chiquita, says proposal is 'definitive', (NYSE: CQB)

Juice maker Grupo Cutrale and investment firm Safra Group raised on Wednesday an offer to acquire U.S.-based Chiquita Brands International Inc, in its latest bid to scuttle an all-stock agreement with Irish tropical fruit company Fyffes Plc. In a statement, Cutrale-Safra announced an all-cash "definitive offer" to acquire Chiquita's outstanding stock for $14 a share, compared with the prior proposal of $13 made on Aug 11. The sweetened proposal values Chiquita at about $658 million, or the equivalent of 12.4 times annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, the statement added.If the unsolicited bid is successful, it would turn billionaires Joseph Safra and Jos� Luis Cutrale into the global kings of breakfast, controlling a sizable share of the global trade of tropical fruits and growing negotiating power over supermarkets. Chiquita had agreed in March to merge with Fyffes to create the world's biggest banana supplier.Cutrale-Safra's revamped offer represents a premium of about 40 percent to Chiquita's closing share price of $10.06 on Aug. 8 and is 19 percent higher than Chiquita's price based on the revised terms of the transaction with Fyffes. The Chiquita takeover will be financed with equity from Cutrale's and Safra's units, and Safra-controlled J. Safra Sarasin AG plans to make a tender for Chiquita's 7.875 percent senior secured notes due in 2021."Unlike the proposed combination with Fyffes, the superior Cutrale-Safra offer provides Chiquita shareholders complete certainty with respect to the value of their Chiquita investment," the statement added.

Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (CBII), along with its subsidiaries, is an international marketer and distributor of bananas and other fresh produce, sold under the Chiquita and other brand names in 70 countries, and packaged salads sold under the Fresh Express and other brand names primarily in the United States. Shares of CQB traded higher by 3.76% or $0.495/share to $13.66. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $9.24 and as high as $14.43. On average, 647874 shares of CQB exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 430190.