Billionaire David Murdock is hoping Wall Street will eat up Dole Food.
The world's largest producer of fresh fruit and vegetables, on Friday filed plans for an initial public offering of stock.
The California company was taken private in 2003 by Murdock, the man behind the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis, N.C. Murdock built the campus at the former Pillowtex mill complex, which closed in 2003.
The campus is attracting academic partners such as Duke University and N.C. State, corporate partners such as Red Hat and PepsiCo and others interested in using its facilities for research.
Murdock has invested part of his vast personal wealth into the project, and it is managed by his privately held Castle & Cooke development company.
Though Dole Food has yet to disclose many specifics of the stock offering, the move could further enrich Murdock, 86, who ranked 183rd on Forbes magazine's 2009 list of the world's billionaires, with an estimated fortune of $3.3 billion.
Dole Food expects to raise as much as $500 million in the IPO, and use the money to repay debt. The company was founded in Hawaii in 1851. If the IPO is successful, the stock would trade under the ticker symbol "DOLE."
In 2007, Dole opened a $54 million salad-packaging plant west of Charlotte. That was its first facility in the state,
although Murdock also had discussed a frozen-fruit plant in the state.