US fresh fruit and vegetables producer Dole Food Company Inc (NYSE:DOLE) moved to address market rumours by announcing it was in talks with Japan’s Itochu Corporation (TYO:8001) over the sale of certain operations.
Dole said that the negotiations were at the advanced stage and revolved around its Packaged Foods and Asia Fresh units. The two sides have yet to reach a definitive agreement and Dole remains in talks with several other parties interested in these businesses and some other assets, the company added.
The US group announced early in May that it had launched a strategic review and retained the services of Deutsche Bank Securities Inc and Wells Fargo Securities LLC to explore potential transactions. Dole stated at the time that a possible scenario involved selling or carving out its packaged foods unit. Another course of action under consideration was the separation of the Asian division, the idea being to create a standalone business through a flotation or a joint venture.
In an article reporting the confirmation of Dole’s talks with the Japanese trading group, the Financial Times said that the statement from Dole came in response to a report published in Nikkei. According to the Japanese business daily, Itochu was prepared to part with USD1.7bn (EUR1.3bn) for ownership of the businesses, the FT added.