Dole CEO agrees to US$74M settlement over 2013 buyout suit

March 23 , 2017

Dole Food Company CEO David Murdock has reportedly agreed to a US$74 million settlement of claims he allegedly shortchanged shareholders in 2013 when he took the produce company private. 

Murdock and Micheal Carter, Dole’s former president and chief counsel, resolved the investors’ lawsuits over the US$1.2 billion transaction after meeting with a mediator in January, according to Bloomberg.

The settlement comes almost two years after a Delaware judge concluded that Murdock and Carter should pay US$148 million to investors who were shortchanged in the $13.50-per-share buyout of the 40% of the company Murdock didn’t already own.

That amount was subsequently cut to US$115.8 million, according to Reuters.

Bloomberg reported it was unclear whether the separate US$74 million settlement will be covered by Dole’s insurance.

A group of pension funds accused Murdock and Carter of giving shareholders “false, negative information designed to artificially depress the price of Dole’s common stock.”

U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson in Wilmington, Delaware, reportedly granted preliminary approval to the settlement on March 16. She will consider final approval on July 18.

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