Bear Stearns group to buy MC Shipping
A company controlled by Bear Stearns Merchant Banking will acquire MC Shipping, a Monaco-based company that owns liquefied petroleum gas carriers and containerships.
The New York-based private equity firm said it would pay $14.25 per share for the company’s stock, about 19.6 percent over the closing price of the company’s stock on Friday and 21.6 percent over the average closing price for the past 60 trading days.
However, the merger agreement includes a “go shop” provision that permits MC Shipping and its advisors to actively solicit alternative proposals from third parties for the next 35 days.
Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, said the total transaction value is $284 million. The equity firm has a wide portfolio of investments including a dairy, a grocer, a children’s playground maker, chemical manufacturers, packaging companies, insurers and financial service companies.
Presently, MC Shipping fully or partially owns and operates a fleet of 19 vessels and has contracted to purchase four others. MC Shipping’s current fleet includes 15 LPG carriers ranging from 3,000 to 78,000 cubic meters, and in recent months announced plans to acquire four more gas carriers as part of strategy to focus on the gas business.
It has interest in four container vessels of 2,300-TEU capacities, but recently announced plans to sell its interest in one of the ships.
Under the deal announced Monday, MC said two principal shareholders with collective ownership of about 53 percent of the common stock of MC Shipping, are selling their shares to Bear Stearns at the same $14.25 price per share that is payable under the merger agreement. The two shareholders are Navalmar Transportes Maritimos LDA, an entity controlled by Enrico Bogazzi, and Weco-Rederi Holding A/S, an entity controlled by Johan Wedell-Wedellsborg.
MC Shipping said a transaction committee of board of directors, comprised solely of directors who are neither company officers nor affiliated with the principal shareholders, recommended the merger.
A special meeting of MC Shipping shareholders has been scheduled for Sept. 5 to vote on the merger agreement.