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Chiquita rejects $611 million takeover offer, will focus on combining with Fyffes of Ireland

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Banana distributor Chiquita Brands says it is rejecting the $611 million buyout offer from investment firm Safra Group and the Brazilian agribusiness and juice company Cutrale Group.

Chiquita says the offer made on Monday is not in the best interest of shareholders. Instead, it will focus on a combination with Fyffes of Ireland. The two companies agreed in March to merge in a stock-for-stock deal to create the world's biggest banana supplier.

Chiquita said Thursday that the Fyffes combination will create a more competitive company.

If a transaction were to occur between Chiquita and Fyffes, Chiquita's headquarters would move from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Dublin, a more tax-efficient corporate base.

Chiquita shares fell a penny to $13.50 in aftermarket trading.

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