WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF. — Stockholders in Dole Food Co., Inc. have approved the sale of the company’s worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh business to ITOCHU Corp. for $1.685 billion.
The transaction already received regulatory approval in six of the seven applicable countries. The goal is to finalize the sale by the end of December. The company is waiting on final regulatory approval from China.
“This is a transformative transaction for our company, and we are pleased to have received stockholder approval today,” said David H. Murdock, Dole’s chairman. “While Dole’s fresh produce business will be significantly smaller and is continuing to experience declining earnings in a continued difficult economic environment both in the United States and in Europe, I am very optimistic about the long-term future of Dole and its prospects.
“We will remain an industry leader in the sourcing, distribution and marketing of bananas, pineapples and other tropical fruits, packaged salads, fresh-packed vegetables and fresh berries. With the planned substantial reduction in debt and the eventual lower cost structure from right-sizing our organization, Dole will be well positioned to pursue growth opportunities within the fresh produce industry.”The transaction also comes with leadership changes. Mr. Murdock will return to the role of chairman and chief executive officer, and C. Michael Carter will take on the role of president and chief operating officer. Other changes include Keith C. Mitchell, currently chief financial officer of Dole’s North American Fresh Fruit business, becoming chief financial officer; A. Charlene Mims, currently in benefits and payroll, leading Human resources; and Beth Potillo, treasurer, and Yoon J. Hugh, current controller and chief accounting officer, becoming senior vice-presidents. Additionally, with the transaction David A. DeLorenzo, current president and chief executive officer, will join ITOCHU to lead the newly acquired business and will be leaving Dole’s board. Joseph S. Tesoriero, executive vice-president and chief financial officer, and Sue Hagen, senior vice-president of human resources, will leave the company.