Dole May Go Public Again (Again)

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

Apr 26, 2017

It once was public, then it went private, then it went public again, then it went private again, and now it's preparing to go public … again. Dole Food Co., Westlake Village, Calif., which has been trimmed back to only fresh fruits and vegetables, filed a registration statement April 24 with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of shares of its common stock.

The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering and the stock exchange on which Dole will apply to list its common stock have not yet been determined.

David Murdock has been in control of the company throughout that public-private history, and it looks like he's again restructured the company to the point he can cash out. The New York Times notes he's 94 and has a net worth estimated at $2.7 billion.

It's questionable how much investors will be interested in the company. The Times said Dole's sales shrank slightly in 2016 to $4.5 billion (from $4.6 billion in 2015) and it lost nearly $23 million last year, more than double what it lost in 2015, although it may have had an operating profit.

In 2014, Dole sold its packaged foods business to Japanese firm Itochu Corp. for nearly $1.7 billion. The division represented a third of Dole’s revenue. While that left it with only fresh produce, the company has begun developing packaged foods again. Dole Mixations – pairings of fruits with both fruit sauces and juicy chunks of real fruit in a cup – were a hit in 2016.

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