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Chiquita takeover of US juice giant

BANANA company Chiquita has agreed to a $682m (€536m) takeover by Brazilian juice maker Cutrale and investment firm Safra, with the US-based banana producer going private early next year at the latest.

Talks about the deal began after Chiquita shareholders voted on Saturday to reject their company's proposed takeover of Irish banana producer Fyffes.

The acquisition is a victory for Brazilian-Lebanese financier Joseph Safra and orange juice baron Jose Luis Cutrale, who joined forces to add Chiquita to their fruit business. Both tycoons fought for almost three months to win control of Chiquita, which rebuffed their previous takeover attempts and sought to merge with Fyffes.