Shareholders in multinational US fruit company Chiquita Brands International are to be given more time to deliberate over the company’s future ownership after it was announced that a special meeting originally scheduled for mid-September to vote on its proposed merger with Irish group Fyffes has been postponed until early October.
The move follows the emergence of a rival bidder for Chiquita in the form of two Brazilian groups, juice company Cutrale and investment firm Safra, which are working to convince the US fresh produce marketer’s shareholders that their own offer of US$13 per share is better than a previously agreed deal to form ChiquitaFyffes.
It also comes in the wake of news that two leading advisory firms had recommended their subscribers not vote for ChiquitaFyffes but instead vote to adjourn the special shareholder meeting on 17 September.
In a statement, Fyffes also confirmed it would adjourn a court meeting and EGM planned for 17 September and, subject to approval by the Irish High Court, delay them until 3 October.
Chiquita’s own special meeting of shareholders to vote on the proposed transaction with Fyffes has also be rearranged for the same date.
“At Chiquita's request, Fyffes has granted Chiquita a waiver to the transaction agreement that permits Chiquita to adjourn their shareholder meeting and engage in discussions with the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group,” Fyffes said in a statement.
It added: “Fyffes and Chiquita continue to recommend that their respective shareholders vote for the combination. A protracted process is not in the interests of Fyffes business and shareholders.”