The world’s largest fresh fruit and vegetable company might be sold.
Less than five months after filing to go public, Dole Food Co. is reportedly exploring a sale. According to the Wall Street Journal, the first round of bids were due last week, with private-equity firms among those potentially interested.
The dual-track process of preparing for a public offering and considering a sale is not uncommon, notes the Wall Street Journal, continuing that Dole Food could garner a valuation in the $2 billion range.
Nevertheless, news of Dole’s potential sale comes just weeks after a series of layoffs. In late August, Dole announced plans to sell its corporate headquarters and move its strawberry operation out of California. This included the layoff of 172 unionized workers in the Oxnard area in southern California. The company has since announced that it would be laying off an additional 402 workers in Pajaro Valley.
Owned by billionaire David H. Murdock, Dole is reportedly $1.3 billion in debt and operates with low margins and decreasing revenue. Last year it reported $4.5 billion in revenue, a 3% decline from 2015.
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