MIAMI Oct 18 A majority interest in one of the
largest private landowners in Florida, agribusiness company
Alico Inc, is being sold for $138 million to a group of
New York private investors.
Based in Fort Myers, Alico manages about 130,000 acres in
central and south Florida and is a leading citrus grower with
11,000 acres under production, as well as sugar cane, and cattle
Under the deal announced on Friday, 734 Agriculture, a
private investment company owned and controlled by Remy W.
Trafelet and George R. Brokaw, in partnership with Arlon Group,
a global food and agriculture investment firm founded by
Continental Grain Company, will acquire about 50.5 percent of
Alico's outstanding voting stock from Atlantic Blue Group, a
family owned holding company, the companies announced in a joint
The all cash transaction values the majority stake in Alico
at $37 per share, and is due to close in the next 30 to 45 days.
Alico stock closed at $38.43 on Friday, down almost 11 per
The other 48.5 percent of stock is held by a mix of mutual
funds and private equity groups.
Atlantic Blue Group is part of the estate of the late citrus
baron Ben Hill Griffin Jr. who's heirs include former Florida
Secretary of State Katherine Harris, famous for presiding over
the notorious Nov. 2000 election recount.
The family's decision to sell Atlantic Blue was made for tax
reasons, according to Ray Rodriguez, the chairman of Alico's
board, told Reuters.
The company's focus will remain farming and the new CEO will
be Clay Wilson an experienced Florida citrus grower.
"As far as I know the vision of the new investors is very
much the same as Alico has had. I don't foresee any change,"