Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#537 David Murdock $3.65B

Random fact: Does 50 push-ups without a break.


Murdock owns Dole Food, a closely held fresh fruit and vegetable producer. The Westlake Village, California-based business had revenue of $4.5 billion in 2016. The billionaire also owns closely held Castle & Cooke, which owns real estate, truck chassis lessor Flexi-Van and golf courses in Arizona, California and North Carolina.

As of July 26, 2017:
Last change +$25.0M (+0.7%)
YTD change -$148M (-3.9%)
Industry Food & Beverage
Biggest asset Dole Food
Citizenship United States
Age 94
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

David Murdock's net worth of $3.65B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Murdock's fortune is derived from his ownership of Dole Food, the closely held fresh fruit and vegetable producer he took private in 2013. The company no longer discloses financials and had revenue of $4.5 billion in 2016, according to a Moody's ratings report. Dole is valued using the average enterprise value-to-sales and enterprise value-to-Ebitda of four peers: Fresh Del Monte, Total Produce, T&G Global and Calavo Growers. 

The billionaire also owns closely held Castle & Cooke, whose office, industrial and retail holdings are valued applying the price-per-square foot for each of those property types on the West Coast, according to data compiled by researcher Real Capital Analytics. Residential developments were valued by pro-rating the market cap of publicly traded KB Home for the number of lots owned by Castle & Cooke. Land holdings were valued based on the average price-per-acre of previous land sales by Castle & Cooke. His Westlake Village, California-based hotel is valued according to discussions with Newport Beach, California-based Rod Apodaca, a hotel broker for CBRE. Golf courses owned by Castle & Cooke are valued based on discussions with Ron Carciere of Golf Course Appraisers. Ventura Farms is valued using the property's taxable value in 2015, according to the assessor of Ventura County.

Truck lessor Flexi-Van is valued using the enterprise value reported in a November 2016 ratings report by S&P Global Ratings.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of share sales, dividends, market performance, taxes and charitable contributions including a $100 million fine he agreed to pay in 2016 to Dole shareholders who argued they'd been shortchanged by the 2013 buyout.

Emails requesting comment on Murdock's fortune weren't returned.


Birthdate: 4/10/1923
Family: Divorced, 3 children

David H. Murdock was born on April 10, 1923 and grew up in Wayne, Ohio with his two sisters, according to a 2011 New York Times Magazine profile. The middle son of a travelling salesman, he dropped out of high school three years before his mother died from cancer when he was 17. Dyslexic, he served in the U.S. army until he was 22 and was homeless in Detroit when a man decided to help him buy his first diner, according to the 2011 article.

He developed property in Phoenix for 17 years before moving to California, buying land, office buildings, stocks and companies. He married his third wife Gabriele Bryant in 1967, adopted her son and had two boys.

He acquired Castle & Cooke, owner of Dole, in 1985. He turned Dole into the world's largest producer of fresh fruits and vegetables. He privatized Dole in 2003, listed it on the New York Stock Exchange in 2009 and acquired it for $1.21 billion, turning it private again, in August 2013. Two years later, he, along with Dole's former president, was ordered to pay $148 million over allegations they drove down the value of the company so Murdock could take it private on the cheap, according to Bloomberg. Other Castle & Cooke holdings included residential communities, resorts, and land, including 98 percent of Lana'i, the sixth largest island in Hawaii, which Murdock sold to Larry Ellison in June 2012.

Gabriele's death from ovarian cancer in 1985 fueled his investigation into healthy living. Since then he has been involved in improving nutrition, promoting health and preventing diseases through a fish-vegetarian diet that he hopes will see him live to 125 years old, according to the New York Times Magazine. He founded the Dole Nutrition Institute in 2003, facilitated the 2005 establishment of the North Carolina Research Campus and created the California Health and Longevity Institute in 2006.

The billionaire collects koi fishes, Arabian horses and orchids and lives in Los Angeles. His youngest son Justin is the CEO of NovaRx and senior vice-president of Castle & Cooke. Murdock's eldest son Eugene died in 1986, while middle son David died in a 2004 car accident.

  • 1923 David H. Murdock is born.
  • 1985 Takes over Dole.
  • 1986 First son Eugene drowns.
  • 2003 Privatises Dole Food.
  • 2004 Second son David Murdock Jr. dies in a car accident.
  • 2009 Lists Dole on the NYSE.
  • 2013 Acquires Dole Food for $1.21 billion.
  • 2015 Ordered to pay $148 million over allegations he drove down Dole's value.