* Dole Food says in advanced negotiations with Itochu
* Itochu could pay around $1.7 bln for assets-source
* Dole still in talks with others for sale of some assets
By Soyoung Kim
Sept 13 Dole Food Company Inc said it
is in advanced talks with Japanese trading house Itochu Corp
to sell its packaged foods and Asia fresh businesses,
sending its shares up nearly 10 percent.
No definitive agreements have been signed with Itochu and
Dole remains in discussions with several other parties about
selling these and other assets, the company said in a statement
Itochu could pay around $1.7 billion for the Dole businesses
and could reach an agreement in the near future, a person
familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named because
details of the negotiations are not public.
Itochu was not available for comment outside business hours
Dole Food, founded in 1851, has struggled with volatile
demand and low prices for bananas, its biggest-selling product.
The world's largest fruit and vegetable company, which began
exploring strategic options in May, said in July it was in talks
to sell or spin off its packaged foods business and was
considering a deal in Asia.
Dole Food's packaged foods business includes canned
pineapple, canned pineapple juice, fruit juice concentrate,
fruit in plastic cups and other packages and frozen fruit.
Its other businesses sell fresh bananas, pineapples and
berries, and more than 20 different types of fresh vegetables as
well as bagged salads.
Shares of Dole, which went public in October 2009, rose
almost 10 percent to $14.07 on the New York Stock Exchange on