A stockholder litigation against Dole Food company concerning the group’s privatization in 2013 has been successful, with CEO David Murdock and general counsel C. Michael Carter ordered to pay more than US$148 million in damages.
The damages owed to the plaintiffs were calculated based on an estimate of the fair value of Dole shares at the time of the sale.
While Murdock took the company private at a price of US$13.50 per share, the court estimates the fair value of shares would have been US$16.20, taking into account delayed cost-cutting and concealed projections about farm purchases.
The court also found former CEO David A. DeLorenzo and Murdock’s financial backer Deutsche Bank were not liable to the plaintiffs.
“Murdock and Carter’s conduct throughout the committee process, as well as their credibility problems at trial, demonstrated that their actions were not innocent or inadvertent, but rather intentional and in bad faith,” Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster wrote in the court opinion.
Readers can click here for a full summary of the case.