Brazilian firms Catrale-Safra raised their takeover offer for Chiquita Brands International Inc. by about 8% as they attempt to thwart the banana company’s proposed tie-up with Irish food company Fyffes PLC.
Catrale-Safra, a coalition of a Brazilian orange juice maker and an investment firm, increased their offer to $14 a share, or about $717 million, from the $13 a share, or about $666 million, offered in August.
Chiquita said in response that it would carefully review the offer.
Catrale’s sweetened offer comes as Chiquita continues to pursue its planned merger with Irish banana grower Fyffes, a tie-up that would create the world’s largest banana seller.
In March, Chiquita and Fyffes said the combined company would relocate to Dublin, where taxes generally are lower. Washington has since cracked down on such inversion deals, implementing new rules to make such deals less attractive.
Chiquita delayed its shareholder vote on the Fyffes deal in September after an influential shareholder adviser pushed the company to negotiate with Catrale-Safra, opening the door for the higher bid and forcing Fyffes to sweeten its part of the merger. Fyffes has agreed to a new deal that would give Chiquita a greater share of the combined company.
Chiquita shareholders are set to vote on the plan at an Oct. 24 special meeting.
By Chelsey Dulaney