Los Angeles Business Journal

Dole in Talks to Sell Units to Japanese Company

By Deborah Crowe Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dole Food Co. on Wednesday said that it is in “advanced talks” to sell its packaged foods and Asia fresh food units to Itochu Corp., a large Tokyo trading company.

The Westlake Village fruit and vegetable giant said it was responding to “market rumors” about a pending sale. It said no agreements have been signed and that the company is continuing to talk with other interested buyers of those businesses and other units.

Reuters, citing the Japanese news site Nikkei.com, is reporting that Itochu could pay as much as $1.7 billion for the two units. Products range from canned pineapples and fruit juice concentrates to packaged salads. They also include fresh fruits such as bananas but only in Asian markets.

Dole in July said it was evaluating a possible sale or spin-off of its packaged foods business as part of a strategic review of its operations.

Shares closed up $1.22, or 9.5 percent, to $14.07 on the New York Stock Exchange.