3. Murdock's Might
For those who keep telling us that David Murdock can't pull off his unsolicited $1.1 billion buyout of Dole (DOLE) because he's 90 years old, well, that's just bananas.
He may be a nonagenarian, but aside from a minor sore throat detailed in a New York Times profile three years ago, Dole's CEO has never been sick in his life. Murdock maintains a strict diet of fruits and vegetables, exercises daily and takes no pills or supplements.
Coolest of all, the billionaire high-school dropout plans to live to be 125. And honestly, the more we learn about the guy, we think he can do it.OK, OK . . . Maybe he won't make it to the year 2048, but at least he will get his management-led deal done with relative ease, especially compared to the plight of 48-year-old Michael Dell, who is also trying to take his company private. Why will Murdock get the Dole deal done post haste, while Michael just can't seem to shake the comparatively middle-aged Carl Icahn, now 77 years young and still agitating? Easy, because Murdock owns 40% of the underperforming fruit and produce giant, vs. Michael's measly 14% stake in the equally ailing Dell. In fact, he has a bigger chunk of the company now than in 2003 when he did a similar deal to take Dole private at an even bigger price tag. Murdock owned roughly a quarter of the Dole's shares back then and paid $2.5 billion for the company which he then took public again in 2009. Deutsche Bank is advising on the transaction and Murdoch says he had received a "highly confident" letter from the lender on the financing for the deal. Previously underperforming Dole shares jumped more than 21% Tuesday to $12.40 on the news, well over Murdock's offer price of $12. Despite the premium, however, we don't think a rival bidder will outspend Murdock, who just last year sold the Hawaiian island of Lanai to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison for half a billion bucks. Frankly, we don't think anybody will outlive him either.