Shareholders of US fruit and vegetable producer Dole Food have approved a buyout agreement allowing chairman and CEO David H Murdock to purchase the 76% of the company that he and his family do not already own for around US$1.44bn.

Murdock, who has been trying since September to buy the remaining shares in order to take the company private, agreed in December to sweeten his offer by $4 per share to $33.50 per share.

The deal is all-cash, and around $1.1bn in debt will also be assumed, reported Dow Jones Business News.