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Dole accepts $1.2 billion offer to go private

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Dole Foods said it had accepted a $1.2 billion offer from Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Murdock to take the U.S. company private.

The deal amounts to $13.50 per share, an increase from Murdock's original offer, made in June, or $12 per share.

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Before the original offer was made public, shares of the company had been prices at $10.20 per share.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the accepted deal represents a 32 percent premium over the share price from before the public heard a deal was in discussion.

The deal is the second time Murdock has taken the company private. Murdock, who is 90 and a billionaire, purchased Dole in 2003 for $2.5 billion. He then raised $446 million in an initial public offering in 2009, selling shares for $12.50 each.

He remains the largest shareholder of the company which, including assumed debt, is valued at $1.6 billion, the Journal reported.

But the agreement allows the company to shop around for a better deal in what is known as a go-shop agreement.

In 2012, after reporting on declining profits, the company sold its packaged-foods and Asia fresh-produce businesses in a cash deal to Japan's Itochu Corp. for $1.69 billion.

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