Total Produce, a European fresh produce company, entered into a binding agreement to acquire a 45% equity stake in Dole Food Co., a Westlake Village, Calif.-based producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables to retail, wholesale and foodservice customers worldwide.

The transaction brings together two leading fresh produce companies with complementary market positions in various product segments and geographies, and represents a significant step in the history of Total Produce and a continuation of its expansion strategy.

David Murdock, chief executive officer of Dole Food, will continue to be chairman and Carl McCann will be vice chairman.

"We are delighted to have signed an agreement with Dole, long held in the highest regard as one of the world's best fresh produce companies, with iconic brands dating back to 1851,” says McCann. “We are particularly pleased to be partnering with David Murdock, who has been an inspirational and visionary leader since he acquired a majority shareholding in Dole in 1985. We are greatly honored that David, a good friend of my late father Neil, my predecessor as chairman, has chosen Total Produce to be his partner. I look forward with great enthusiasm to working very closely together with David and his superb management team to continue to expand the business in the future. I believe that this investment by Total Produce in Dole is the single most positive step in our company's history. It places Total Produce at the forefront of our industry, and we anticipate it will create significant additional value for shareholders in the years ahead."

“With great pride, I announce the creation of a new partnership between Dole Food Co. and Total Produce,” says Murdock. “For many years, I have cherished my friendship with the McCann family, and I know that my late friend Neil McCann would be so proud to see his son Carl McCann completing this strategic partnership between our two companies. Both Dole and Total Produce have a standard of perfection that leads the industry in innovation, together we will further our joint mission of providing the highest quality produce to the world.”

Dole maintains an integrated supply chain and operating platform, including farmland, manufacturing plants, pack houses, ships, containers and port and research facilities. As of March 25, 2017, Dole owned and operated approximately 123,600 acres of farms and other land holdings around the world, including approximately 14,800 acres of actively marketed idle land for sale in Oahu, Hawaii. In addition, Dole owns a fleet of 15 refrigerated ships, 13 of which are dedicated to its operations, operates 11 cold storage facilities and approximately 15,600 refrigerated containers, and utilizes six salad manufacturing plants and more than 75 packing houses.