Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE) announced this morning via a press release sent through Business Wire that it has accepted the offer from Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Murdock to buy the company and take it private. The company has signed a definitive merger agreement, which grants shareholders $13.50 per share.
In June Murdock offered to buy Dole for $12 per share. After the announcement, shares of Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE) climbed 5 percent to land just under the $13.50 per share buyout price.
Dole valued at $1.6 billion
Under the terms of this sweetened buyout deal, Dole is valued at around $1.6 billion. The deal is a 32 percent premium over the $10.20 per share price of the stock before the original offer was made by Murdock.
Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE) said it decided unanimously to accept Murdock’s offer. Of course Murdock himself, who owns about 40 percent of the company, abstained from voting. The company’s board said it acted upon the recommendation made by a special committee charged with determining whether it would be a good idea for the company to accept the offer. That committee was formed after Murdock made his original offer in June.
Murdock’s deal subject to conditions
The deal is still subject to some conditions. A majority of the outstanding shares held by shareholders other than Murdock and his affiliates must vote in favor of the buyout. A combination of cash, equity contributed by Murdock and financing from three banks will be used to complete the transaction. Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB) (ETR:DBK) (FRA:DBK), Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) and The Bank of Nova Scotia (NYSE:BNS) (TSE:BNS) will provide the financing.
Also other conditions apply, including approval by regulators. There will also be a “go-shop” period of 30 days, which enables the special committee to “solicit, receive, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations with parties that offer alternative proposals.” If Murdock’s offer is accepted, then the deal is expected to close during the last three months of the year.