Why is a 94-year-old billionaire eager to take his company public?

That’s the question investors are asking about David Murdock and Westlake Village-based Dole Food Co. Inc., which filed preliminary paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 25 for an initial public offering. And several experts believe the offering could indicate a hunger by Dole for acquisitions.

Murdock is the sole owner of Dole. The company grows and distributes fresh fruit and vegetables from 124,000 acres of farms and other land holdings around the world. For 2016, the company reported a net loss of $23.7 million on revenue of $4.5 billion.

Rick Andrade, managing director at Janas Consulting, an investment bank in Pasadena, speicalizes in acquistions and finance for food and beverage companies. He said that Murdock’s thinking may be that he is familiar with the public market and has the right team in place so it makes sense to go public, “especially if you want to make acquisitions and want to use the public money to do that,” Andrade explained.

Read the full story in the May 15 issue of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.