Liberty drops International Shipholding offer
An affiliate of Liberty Shipping Group has withdrawn a proposal to acquire all shares of International Shipholding Corp. (ISH), the Mobile, Ala.-based company founded by the Johnsen family, for $25.75 per share in cash.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Liberty said it “does not currently intend to conduct a proxy solicitation in order to replace the entire board of directors of the company at the next annual meeting of stockholders, as had been previously announced.”
But is said it would reserve the right to seek representation on the ISH board or seek to remove or replace one or more of the members of the board at the next annual meeting of stockholders or at any other time.
In a letter dated Thursday, Philip Shapiro, chief executive officer of Liberty, complained to the ISH board of directors about their “repeated refusal to engage in a serious dialogue that could lead to a mutually beneficial transaction and our inability to gain access to nonpublic information that would allow us to assess the value of ISH in light of current market conditions.
“We do not believe it is in our best interests to allow this situation to remain unresolved for an extended period of time. Accordingly, we have determined to withdraw our proposal, effective immediately,” he said.
Shapiro said, “we will let ISH’s stockholders judge for themselves the reasonableness of the special committee’s positions.”
Lake Success, N.Y.-based Liberty owns 652,100 shares or 9.1 percent of ISH.
Members of the Johnsen family, including Chairman Niels M. Johnsen and Chief Executive Officer Erik L. Johnsen, own about 25.2 percent of the company’s stock according to a proxy statement issued last March.
Liberty Shipping Group owns and operates six U.S.-flag dry bulk vessels and a 2005-built pure car truck carrier . It has two PCTC’s on order to be constructed in Korea for delivery in 2009 and 2010.
ISH has a diverse fleet of ships including PCTCs and roll-on/roll-off vessels, breakbulk and bulk ships, containerships, a molten sulfur carrier, a tanker and two rail ferries operated between Mobile and Mexico. ' Chris Dupin