Billionaire Murdock offers to buy Dole

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., June 11 (UPI) -- The board at U.S. fresh food giant Dole Food Co. said it would consider a bid from executive David Murdock to take the company private.

Murdock is Dole's chief executive officer and chairman. He is also a billionaire and the company's largest shareholder, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.


Murdock has offered $12 per share in a deal that would value the company at close to $1.1 billion.

Company stock jumped 21 percent after news of a potential deal became public, gaining $2.15 to $12.35 per share.

Before news of a possible deal broke, Dole stock was priced at $10.20 per share.

Murdock already took Dole private in 2003. But he returned it to public life with an initial public offering sale in 2009.

Murdock has made two recent deals that were likely intended to set up the unsolicited bid for the company.

In one step, he recently sold the Hawaiian island of Lanai for $500 million. It was sold to the head of Oracle Larry Ellison, the newspaper said.

Murdock also orchestrated a sale of Dole's global packaged food and Asian fresh food business, which went to Japanese company Itochu Corp. for $1.7 billion.


That deal cut Dole's revenues by about a third, the Times ssid.

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