US produce giant Chiquita Brands International has turned down the unsolicited takeover bid from juice maker Cutrale Group and Brazilian investment firm Safra Group.

Cutrale and Safra had given Chiquita, which is set to merge with Ireland-based peer Fyffes, until today (15 August) to react to their US$13-a-share offer.

However, in a statement last night, Chiquita described the bid as “inadequate” and “not in the best interests of Chiquita shareholders”.

Chiquita said it would not provide the information to Cutrale and Safra nor hold talks with the bidders “at this time”.

The company added: “The Chiquita board of directors has also unanimously reaffirmed its recommendation that Chiquita shareholders vote to approve the definitive merger agreement between Chiquita and Fyffes.

“Chiquita remains committed to completing its transaction with Fyffes, which it believes will create a combined company that is better positioned to succeed in a highly competitive marketplace, while driving strong performance and value for shareholders.”

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By GlobalData

Cutrale and Safra announced their bid for Chiquita, which valued the company at US$610.5m, on Tuesday.

They claimed the offer was “a highly compelling premium” to how the market valued Chiquita’s proposed transaction with Fyffes.

The bidders said their offer was a 29% premium on the planned deal, based on Chiquita’s closing share price of US$10.06 on Friday.

In a letter written to Chiquita chairwoman Kerrii Anderson and Ed Lonergan, the company’s president and CEO, Cutrale and Safra said they could close their transaction before the end of the year.

The companies said that timetable was “within the same timeframe” Chiquita had indicated for the Fyffes deal “but without the execution risk and uncertainty inherent in that transaction”.