Squire Sanders and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher have the lead roles in the $1.7 billion acquisition of Dole Food Co., Inc.’s global packaged foods and Asian fresh produce divisions by Japanese trading company Itochu Corp.
The deal is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals in multiple jurisdictions.
Itochu is being advised by Squire Sanders Tokyo partners Ken Kurosu and Steven Doi. The head of the Osaka- and Tokyo-based company’s legal division is Hidefumi Suzuki. Eric Laptook serves as the New York-based general counsel of the Itochu’s North American division.    
Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole announced it was in talks with Itochu last week, and said that proceeds from the sale would mainly be used to reduce its debts and restructure its business. The company’s packaged food business produces canned fruit and juices, while its Asian produce unit operates plantations, farms, and processing centers in Thailand and the Philippines.
Dole will retain its fresh fruit and vegetable businesses in North America, Latin America, Europe and Africa.
Dole general counsel Michael Carter turned to the company’s long term legal advisor Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher for legal advice on its sale. The firm’s Los Angeles team is being led by corporate partner Peter Wardle, and includes tax partner Dora Arash and compensation partner Sean Feller. Palo Alto-based partner David Kennedy also provided corporate and intellectual property-related advice on the sale.
Gibson Dunn was counsel to Dole when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2009. The firm also acted for Dole’s board of directors when the company was bought by the current chief executive officer David Murdock in 2003.
Japanese trading companies, or sogo shosha, have been at the forefront of a wave of outbound investment driven in part by the strong yen. Many of their acquisitions have been in the energy, commodity, and agricultural sectors. In May, Marubeni Corp. acquired Omaha-based grain trader Gavilon Group for $3.6 billion.
Email: jseah@alm.com .