NEW YORK — Chiquita Brands International has agreed to be bought by Cutrale Group and Safra Group, both of Brazil, for about $681 million in cash, after shareholders last week rejected its plan to buy another banana producer.
The bidders will pay $14.50 for each share of Chiquita, the companies said Monday — 44 percent more that Chiquita’s closing price on Aug. 8. The deal is expected to close by early 2015.
Chiquita had rejected the Cutrale-Safra overtures three times, including last week, when it cited its plans to buy the Irish banana producer Fyffes. The company, which also sells salad under the Fresh Express brand, reconsidered and began talks with the Brazilian companies after its shareholders voted Oct. 24 to reject the Fyffes deal.
Including debt, the value of Monday’s deal is $1.27 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It is the fifth-largest pending or completed takeover of a US food company to be announced this year.