Dole Food Co. CEO and Chairman David Murdock has completed a buyout of the company, a deal that takes the Westlake Village-based produce giant private and values it at $1.6 billion.
The merger was approved by shareholders on Oct. 31, the company said. Dole shares will cease trading on the New York Stock Exchange at the close of business on Nov. 1.
Murdock sought financing to take the company private in a deal that includes the assumption of debt. The Wall Street Journal reported that the shareholder vote was much closer than expected and that at least one major shareholder was considering asking a judge to review the sale price. Shares were trading at $13.65 on Nov. 1, but Murdock held fast on the $13.50 deal price.
“The $13.50 price per share is considerably higher than Dole’s historical stock trading price average,” he said in a statement. Dole shares have traded between $9.25 and $13.96 over the last year. They closed at $13.55 on Oct. 31.
“I plan to have Dole support my strong personal commitment to promoting a lifestyle and diet which includes significant emphasis on fruits and vegetables and proper nutrition as a basis for improved health and longevity,” Murdock said in a news release. “We will continue to support research efforts to study the impact of nutrition on health and longevity at universities and other non-profit institutions, and to write books and publications in order to broaden our collective knowledge base on the value and benefits from eating fruits and vegetables.”
Murdock was advised by Deutsche Bank Securities and Paul Hastings LLP. The special committee of Dole’s board was advised by Lazard and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. The company was advised by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.[wikichart align=”center” ticker=”DOLE” showannotations=”true” livequote=”true” startdate=”01-05-2013″ enddate=”01-11-2013″ width=”390″ height=”245″]