Fruit distributor Chiquita is merging with Irish rival Fyffes in a deal that will create the world's biggest banana company worth about $1 billion.
The all-stock deal will result in a company called ChiquitaFyffes with $4.6 billion in annual revenue that employs about 32,000 people. Chiquita shareholders will own about 50.7% of the combined company, with Fyffes shareholders owning the remaining 49.3%.The companies said the merger would generate annual cost savings of at least $40 million by 2016. They added that existing brands will be retained but customers will also have access to a wider selection of products. Upon news of the deal, Chiquita Brands was climbing almost 12% to $12.13 at last check. In New York, I'm Brittany Umar for TheStreet. -- Written by Brittany Umar in New York.