Two weeks after its 90-year-old chief executive offered to take the company private again, Dole Food Co. has designated a special board committee to review the proposal.
The Westlake Village produce supplier has appointed a four-person committee to consider an offer of $12 a share made on June 10 from David Murdock, the company’s chairman, chief executive and largest shareholder.
The committee is being chaired by Dr. Andrew J. Conrad, co-founder of the National Genetics Institute in Los Angeles, and includes Elaine L. Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor; Sherry Lansing, former chief executive of Paramount Pictures; and Dr. E. Rolland Dickson, former professor at the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn.
The deal values the company at roughly $1.5 billion including debt and would pay shareholders $645 million for the 40 percent stake that the Los Angeles billionaire or his family does not control. The offer represented an 18-percent premium over the share price the day the offer was made.
Murdock, who was chief executive from 1985 to 2007 before temporarily stepping down, took the company private in 2003 after paying $33.50 a share in a deal valued at $2.5 billion. He then relisted Dole in a $1.1 billion second initial public offering in 2009.
The company is now significantly smaller since the $1.7 billion sale in April of its global packaged-goods business and Asia fresh-foods business to Itochu Corp. of Japan. The business accounted for about a third of revenue and half of profits.
Dole shares closed up 3 cents to $12.80 on the New York Stock Exchange.