Produce giant Chiquita Brands International said Monday that it will buy Irish rival Fyffes in an all-stock deal valued at $526 million, making the Charlotte, N.C.-based company the world’s largest banana supplier.
The merger is sure to raise a stink in an industry dominated by a small bunch of suppliers. Chiquita, Fyffes, Dole Food and Fresh Del Monte control more than 80 percent of the world’s banana trade, according to the United Nations.
Chiquita estimates that the acquisition will result in annual revenue of $4.6 billion and operational savings of about $40 million by the end of 2016. The deal, which is expected to close by the end of 2014, has been approved by both boards. It is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. The combined company will be known as ChiquitaFyffes, with 50.7 percent of the firm owned by Chiquita shareholders and the remaining 49.3 percent held by Fyffes shareholders.