Los Angeles Business Journal

Murdock Gets No Competition for Dole Purchase

By Business Journal Staff Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dole Food Co. announced Wednesday that it did not receive any offers higher than the proposal from its 90-year-old chief executive to go private.

As part of the offer from David Murdock, which the company accepted on Aug. 12, the Westlake Village produce company was given a “go-shop” period of 30 days to entertain other offers.

The deal, which is still subject to approval by a majority of shareholders not affiliated with Murdock, was unanimously approved by the company’s board of directors. It is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Murdock agreed to pay $13.50 per share in a deal that values the company at roughly $1.6 billion, including debt. Murdock already controls 40 percent of the stock.

The Los Angeles billionaire, chief executive from 1985 to 2007 before temporarily stepping down, took the company private in 2003 after paying $33.50 a share in a deal valued at $2.5 billion. He then relisted Dole in a $1.1 billion second initial public offering in 2009.

The deal will be financed through a combination of cash and equity, which shouldn’t be a problem for Murdock. Last year, the billionaire sold the Hawaiian island of Lanai for $500 million to Oracle Corp. Chairman Larry Ellison.

Shares lost 6 cents, or less than 1 percent, to close at $13.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.