Chiquita Brands International Inc has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Fresh Express unit of Performance Food Group for $855 million in cash. A supplier of packaged salads and fresh-cut fruit, Fresh Express has a 40% retail market share and approximately $1 billion in revenues.
With this acquisition, Chiquita will immediately become a leader in the salads category. The transaction is expected to close in second quarter 2005, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including completion of the Fresh Express 2004 annual audit.
“I believe this is the most important strategic and transformational move the company has made in decades,” said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer of Chiquita Brands International. “Fresh Express fits seamlessly into our sustainable growth strategy to become a world-class, consumer-driven leader of branded produce by building a high-performance organization, strengthening our core business and, most importantly, pursuing profitable growth.”