Saturday 14 December 2019

Dole owner has Total Produce deal in the can

Billionaire Dole owner David Murdock. Photo: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg News
Billionaire Dole owner David Murdock. Photo: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg News
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

A deal by Total Produce to take a large minority stake in fruit firm Dole was hailed as transformational last week. And it will certainly transform life for billionaire Dole owner David Murdock. The 94-year old is a colourful character. He pulled an IPO of Dole last April as he felt a trade sale of the heavily-indebted company would be quicker. And it appears that the ageing Murdock is very conscious of not wasting any time.

According to Forbes, Murdock has ambitions to live to at least age 125 and follows a strict regime of exercise and a diet of vegetables and fish.

He has also invested much of his cash into longevity research and started the California Health and Longevity Institute.

His desire for a quick sale of Dole was almost scuppered when it emerged in early January that Belgian fruits and vegetables company Greenyard had terminated acquisition talks. Not one to hang around, he did a deal to sell to the McCanns within a matter of weeks.

Another bit of news from Murdock last year was that he reached a $74m (€59m) settlement of claims that he shortchanged shareholders in 2013 when he took Dole private in a $1.2bn buyout. Shareholders had accused Murdock and another executive of driving down the price.

Little fear that Total paid anything less then full value for its stake - it has paid €300m for this initial investment and has an option to buy out all of the company in two years.

Sunday Indo Business

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