Dole abandons Fresh Express deal under DOJ antitrust pressure

March 28 (UPI) -- Fresh Express, which is owned by Chiquta Holdings, has dropped its plans to acquire Dole's Fresh Vegetables division after antitrust regulators said the move could harm competition.

"Today, Fresh Express Acquistion LLCs, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chiquita Holdings Limited (Chiquita) announced its decision to abandon its proposed $308 million acquisition of Dole, plc's Fresh Vegetables division," the Justice Department said in a statement Thursday.


Dole planned for a $308 deal but drew the attention of regulators from the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, who said the deal could harm competition in the packaged salad market.

"The abandonment comes as in response to the department's concerns about competition in the packaged salad market," the Justice Department said.

Dole confirmed that the agreement was abandoned due to regulatory pressure but rejected the premise that the deal would have harmed competition.

"While Dole strongly disagrees with the Department of Justice's decision and continues to believe that the transaction was pro-competitive and would have unlooked ongoing benefits to consumers and consumers, we remain confident that we will have an alternative path forward in the near term," Dole said in a statement Thursday.


Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, said the move would have reduced the number of competitors and potentially result in price increases for consumers.

"At a time when food companies are already overcharging Americans for groceries, today's abandonment said preserves lower prices and availability for an essential kitchen staple," Kanter said.

Latest Headlines