Chiquita Brands International, Inc. and the Cutrale and Safra Groups announced the completion of the transactions under which Cutrale-Safra has acquired Chiquita via its affiliate, Cavendish Acquisition Corporation.
After the previously announced completion of the tender offer pursuant to which Cutrale-Safra, through Cavendish Acquisition Corporation and together with the exercise of a top-up option, acquired more than 90% of the outstanding shares of common stock of Chiquita, Cutrale-Safra consummated a "short-form" merger under the New Jersey Business Corporation Act in which all remaining shares of Chiquita common stock not tendered into the offer were cancelled and converted into the right to receive $14.50 per share, to the seller in cash, without interest and subject to any required withholding of taxes. Shares of Chiquita common stock will no longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
"We look forward to working with Chiquita to build the premier and most sustainable fresh produce platform in the industry," said Cutrale-Safra. "The expertise of the Cutrale Group, one of the world's most highly regarded agribusiness and juice companies, and the extensive global relationships of the Safra Group will be important strategic differentiators for Chiquita. We are confident this combination will benefit customers and consumers of the Chiquita and Fresh Express brands around the world. We will focus with Chiquita on strengthening its businesses and brands, including Chiquita bananas and Fresh Express salads and snacks, and enable further success in this very competitive environment through investments in the brands and operations. We bring to Chiquita a history of successful investment in the agribusiness sector; a commitment to providing customers the highest quality products and best service levels, and a focus on delivering healthy products to consumers around the world."
Chiquita will continue its ongoing strategic objective of refocusing the business on its core brands and strengths, while maintaining excellence in its customer relationships. As a result of this refocus and with Chiquita no longer a publicly owned company, Brian Kocher, Chief Operating Officer of Chiquita, has assumed the position of interim Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Ed Lonergan. Rick Frier, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will as well be exiting. Cutrale-Safra express their appreciation to Mr. Lonergan and Mr. Frier for their leadership of Chiquita and wish them well in their next endeavors. Mr. Lonergan stated, "We are proud of the success of Chiquita's 'return to the core' strategic plan, thank Cutrale-Safra for their support in this transition, and wish them long term success with this great company and team."