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Report: American Apparel ditches handheld readers in favor of RFID

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Angeles – American Apparel is automating in-store inventory tracking processes with a wide-area RFID, eliminating the need for handheld readers. As reported by RFID 24-7, following a six-month pilot, American Apparel has deployed an automated inventory system using fixed RFID antennae mounted in ceiling track lights at all locations in North America.

The solution uses Seintron inventory visibility technology and Impinj Speedway readers, antenna hubs and GrandPrix RFID platform. On a continual basis, the system transmits data from RFID inventory tags with Impinj Monza chips to a database providing real-time RFID coverage across the store. Ninety-eight percent of items in the store are tagged.

Reported benefits from the use of RFID to automate in-store inventory management include improvements in inventory accuracy, on-shelf availability, security, and the ability to locate merchandise. In addition, combining inventory visibility with POS data American Apparel can improve analytics of its merchandising performance and elimination of previously manual cycle counts provides store associates and managers with more time to perform customer-facing tasks.

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Dole CEO to acquire company and take it private

BY CSA STAFF

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — David H. Murdock, Dole’s chairman and CEO, has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Dole Food Company to acquire for cash all outstanding shares of Dole common stock not currently held by him and his affiliates.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Dole stockholders will receive $13.50 in cash for each share of Dole common stock that they hold, in a transaction which — with the assumption of debt — places the total enterprise value of Dole at approximately $1.6 billion. This price represents an increase of $1.50 per share from the original proposal Murdock delivered to Dole on June 10, and a premium of 32% over the $10.20 per share price of the stock immediately prior to such proposal.

The board of directors of Dole, with Murdock abstaining, acting on the unanimous recommendation of a special committee of independent and disinterested directors, unanimously approved the merger agreement pursuant to which Murdock will take the company private. The transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including approval by at least a majority of the outstanding shares of common stock held by stockholders of Dole other than Murdock and his affiliates. The special committee was formed after Murdock delivered the original proposal to Dole.

The transaction will be financed through a combination of cash and equity contributed by Murdock, as well as financing that has been committed by Deutsche Bank, Bank of America and the Bank of Nova Scotia. The transaction is subject to other customary conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals, in addition to the stockholder approval mentioned above. The merger agreement provides for a “go-shop” period of 30 days, during which the special committee, with the assistance of Lazard, will actively solicit, receive, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations with parties that offer alternative proposals. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2013.

Lazard acted as financial adviser to the special committee. Murdock was advised by Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. in connection with the transaction.

Dole Food Company, with 2012 revenues from continuing operations of $4.2 billion, is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers fresh fruit and vegetables.

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Campbell to sell European business

BY CSA STAFF

CAMDEN, N.J. — Campbell Soup Company announced that it is in final and exclusive negotiations for the potential sale of its business in Europe to CVC Capital Partners, a leading global private equity firm.

CVC has made a firm offer to purchase the business. The proposed transaction includes Campbell’s national brands of soups, sauces and simple meals, including Liebig and Royco in France, Erasco in Germany, Blå Band in Sweden and Devos Lemmens and Royco in Belgium. The proposal also includes the sale of four plants in Puurs, Belgium; Le Pontet, France; Lubeck, Germany; and Karpalund, Sweden.

The proposed transaction does not include the export of Pepperidge Farm products throughout Europe or Campbell’s products in the U.K. or the Middle East or Africa. It also does not include Kelsen Group, which will continue its operations in Denmark and the export of its products to countries in Europe and throughout the world.

Campbell will conduct an information and consultation process with its European and local works councils in relation to the proposed transaction, in accordance with applicable laws. Campbell has the option to cause the parties to execute a binding share purchase agreement after the conclusion of the consultation process. The proposed transaction is subject to clearance by the relevant European competition law authorities.

In fiscal 2012, the Campbell businesses included in the proposed transaction generated annual net sales of approximately $530 million.

Campbell anticipates that the proposed sale would be completed in the first quarter of its fiscal 2014.

Campbell is being advised by Allen & Overy LLP. CVC is being advised by Leopold Capital Partners, Barclays, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and Ernst & Young.

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