Dole Food Co. has received an an unsolicited buyout offer from its chief executive David Murdock.

The global food and fresh produce giant has been offered US$12 per share in cash from Murdock, who owns around 40% of the company. This gives Dole an enterprise value of around $1.5bn, including debt.

The offer represents an 18% premium to Dole’s stock closing price yesterday of $10.20.

The company said a board of directors will be meeting over the next several days to establish a special committee of independent directors to consider Murdock’s proposal.

Murdock took up the role of CEO in February after David DeLorenzo stepped down to run two businesses sold by Dole to Japan’s Itochu Corp.

Dole agreed to sell its global packaged food and Asian fresh businesses to the Japanese conglomerate in September last year for $1.7bn. The deal was completed in January.