Fruit and vegetable grower Dole Plc filed paperwork on Friday with regulators to return to the US stock market as part of a deal in which its 98-year-old billionaire owner David Murdock finally gave up the reins of the company.
Murdock, who built what was originally a Hawaiian pineapple growing business into one of the world's biggest fresh food producers and distributors, stepped down from the board earlier this year as part of a merger with Irish peer Total Produce.
The stock market launch is one of the final pieces of a deal that began with the Irish company buying 45% of Dole for $300 million three years ago.
Total Produce reported a 1.7% revenue increase for the year 2020, to €6.26 billion, in what it described 'very strong performance' in spite of the 'unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19'.
Murdock will not hold a board or leadership position with Dole after the transaction, a company spokesperson said.
Originally a real estate investor, the American billionaire took over Dole in the 1980s by purchasing its parent company Castle & Cooke. He took Dole private in 2003, only to float it publicly in 2009 and then buy it out again four years later.
He was replaced on the company's board earlier this year by Total Produce's chairman Carl McCann.
Total Produce executives will take over the chairman and chief executive roles, while Dole CEO Johan Lindén will become the chief operating officer.
Dole did not reveal the number of shares it plans to offer or its target price range in its filing. Its shares are expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the trade symbol 'DOLE'.
Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank Securities and Davy are the lead underwriters for the offering.