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John Hey

BY JOHN HEY

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EC to make call on Total Produce-Dole deal

European Commission due to decide by mid-July whether to give green light to Total Produce’s bid to buy 45 per cent stake in Dole

EC to make call on Total Produce-Dole deal

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The European Commission is due to decide by 16 July whether to wave through Total Produce’s €260m purchase of a stake in US rival Dole, according to Ireland’s Independent.  

The deal would unite two global brands, and create the world’s biggest fresh produce group, with estimated combined sales of €8bn.

Ireland-based distributor Total Produce announced the acquisition of a 45 per cent share of Dole, which is controlled by 95-year old billionaire David H Murdock, in February this year.

The deal must be approved by competition regulators on both sides of the Atlantic, but CEO of Total Produce Rory Byrne had expressed concerns the EU competition watchdog could delay the consummation of the deal until the end of the year, according to the Independent.

A regulatory filing, however, shows the acquisition will be assessed next month, the newspaper reported.

If the deal gets the green light, Total Produce and Dole chairman Murdock will run the partially merged entity as a joint venture, the article said.

Total Produce, chaired by Carl McCann, has the option to take full control of Dole within five years. The US behemoth is, however, carrying US$1bn of debt and posted a net loss of US$16m last year, the Independent noted.

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