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Citrus family sells Alico stake

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  • | 3:26 p.m. October 18, 2013
  • Charlotte–Lee–Collier
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FORT MYERS — The heirs to the Alico fortune announced they have agreed to sell control of the agribusiness company to a group of private investors for $137.8 million.

New York-based Arlon Group and private investors Remy Trafelet and George Brokaw, operating as 734 Agriculture LLC, agreed to pay $37 per share in cash for 50.5% of Alico controlled by Atlantic Blue Group, the heirs to the fortune of the Ben Hill Griffin family. The deal is scheduled to close before the end of the year.

The price represents a 14% discount to the closing price of Alico's publicly traded stock on Oct. 17 of $43 (symbol: ALCO). The Fort Myers-based company controls 130,800 acres in Alachua, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Polk counties where it grows citrus and sugarcane. It also raises cattle and mines rock.

When the deal closes, Clay Wilson, a third-generation citrus grower, will replace JD Alexander as CEO, the company says. The transition in leadership will mean the end of an era of leadership of Alico by the heirs to the Griffin fortune.

“We believe that Alico provides a solid platform on which we can continue to build a thriving agribusiness operation,” says Wilson, in a statement. “We are committed to investing in Alico's long term success and will focus on increasing opportunities for growth and improved operating performance to the benefit of all of Alico's shareholders and employees.”


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