UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 DOLE HQ BUILDING SOLD; IN JULY 2018 - 49% OF THE EQUITY IN DOLE WAS SOLD TO A FOREIGN PRODUCE PRODUCER
Dole’s 168,000-square-square foot Westlake Village, California building has been sold to the Conrad Hilton Foundation for $50 million. Dole will lease a portion of the building for its downsized operations.
It is no secret that Dole has been suffering from lagging sales and mounting debt service.
In July, Dole’s owner David Murdock sold 49% of the equity in the company to Dublin. Ireland-based Total Produce, a leading provider of produce to Europe.
UPDATE: The bad news continues for employees at Dole
Dole has announced another round of layoffs, this time 402 workers as part of a move out of producing strawberries in California. Another layoff will affect more than 268 workers in addition to those mentioned below.
According to a Los Angeles Times article, Dole is “struggling with nearly $1.3 billion in debt, low operating margins and declining revenue.” The company is hoping for a public offering to infuse capital into the company. This initial public offering would be the third time that the public has gone public.
There is renewed talk about moving corporate out of their Westlake Village headquarters to an out-of-state location, possibly Kannapolis, North Carolina where Murdock maintains a residence and is the location of his personally-endowed research institute.
Original Post ...
It appears that Dole Food, the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, is in the middle of another financial maneuver under the shrewd direction of billionaire David Murdoch.
As part of spinning off a portion of Dole operations to the public, Dole has announced that it will be laying off 172 workers and closing their subsidiaries Dole Berry, DB South, and Dole Fresh Vegetables in Ventura County, California. The impact will be much larger on the local community as Dole will not be hiring the customary temporary farm workers for the picking season.
It has been suggested that Dole is looking to leave farming in Southern California and will possibly be laying off as many as 600 workers in total.
Notorious tight-lipped about their operations, it appears that Dole has told the Securities and Exchange Commission that they had signed a term sheet to sell their Westlake Village headquarters in a tax-free exchange with one of their affiliates, Castle & Cook Properties.
Since Murdoch has significant real estate holdings in the area, especially his residence at Ventura Farms, it is unlikely that the 94-year-old Murdoch will be leaving the area. Murdoch, a vegetarian, said he plans to live to 125 years-old and considering the amount of money he has invested in the California Health and Longevity Institute located next to his headquarters in Westlake Village, it might even be believable.
An interesting look at Murdock, his life, and his ideas for better health ...