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Dole Cancels Sale of its Fresh Vegetables Div. to Fresh Express

April 2, 2024
$293 million transaction called off because of Justice Dept. objection.

Dole Plc called off the sale of its Fresh Vegetables Div. to Fresh Express Inc. on March 28 because of “the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision that it will pursue litigation to prevent the transaction.”

“While Dole strongly disagrees with the Department of Justice’s decision and continues to believe that the transaction was pro-competitive and would have unlocked ongoing benefits to customers and consumers, we remain confident that we will have an alternative path forward in the near term that is in the best interests of the Fresh Vegetables Division’s employees, customers and partners, and the Dole Plc shareholders,” the seller wrote.

The deal was announced in February of 2023. Fresh Express, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chiquita Holdings Ltd., was to pay $293 million in cash for the business, which sources whole produce from farms across the U.S. and has four processing plants.

In addition to whole iceberg, romaine and leaf lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, asparagus, artichokes, green onions, sprouts, radishes and cabbage, it also made salads and meal kits. The division reported revenue of $1.28 billion at the end of 2021, and it employs more than 3,000 people.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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