Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE: DOLE) announced today that the previously announced sale of its worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh produce businesses to ITOCHU Corporation for $1.685 billion in cash, will be completed on April 1, 2013. Dole and ITOCHU have agreed to this firm fixed closing date at ITOCHU’s request, and have extended the term of the definitive acquisition agreement signed by the parties on September 17, 2012, to the April 1 date. ITOCHU today paid Dole a non-refundable cash deposit of $200 million to be applied toward the purchase price, and the parties agreed that, with limited exceptions, the deposit will be forfeited and retained by Dole if the closing does not occur by April 1, 2013. Dole intends to use the $200 million in cash to temporarily repay revolver borrowings, certain transaction related expenses, and general corporate purposes.
“The consummation of the sale on April 1 st will complete this transformative transaction for Dole, resulting in a major percentage of Dole’s operations being sold to ITOCHU. The new Dole will have a smaller footprint as a commodity produce company with overall revenue in the $4.2 billion range with two lines of business: fresh fruit and fresh vegetables,” said David H. Murdock, Dole’s Chairman. “ITOCHU will have exclusive rights to the Dole® trademark on packaged food products worldwide and on fresh produce in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. We will remain an industry leader in the sourcing, distribution and marketing of bananas, pineapples and other tropical fruits, packaged salads, fresh-packed vegetables and fresh berries.”
As part of the extension agreement, David A. DeLorenzo, current President and Chief Executive Officer of Dole, will immediately assume a full-time position leading the management team of the businesses being acquired by ITOCHU through the closing date, after which he will join ITOCHU as the senior management of these businesses. Mr. DeLorenzo has stepped down from his roles as President and Chief Executive Officer of Dole, but will remain on Dole’s Board of Directors following completion of the sale transaction. In addition, as previously announced, Joseph S. Tesoriero has stepped down from his position as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. DeLorenzo and Mr. Tesoriero will remain employees of Dole through the closing of the sale to ITOCHU.