BSMB in $284m shipping deal

Bear Stearns Merchant Banking will buy international petroleum transporter MC Shipping for $284 million.

Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, the US bank’s mid-market private equity affiliate, has agreed to acquire international shipping company MC Shipping for $284 million (€207 million), including the assumption of debt.

Monaco-based MC Shipping focuses on the maritime transportation of liquefied petroleum gas, and operates a fleet of 19 vessels that service oil, gas, shipping and trading companies.

BSMB will pay $14.25 per share in cash for the company, a 19.6 percent premium over the closing price of MC Shipping’s common stock on 27 July. At the time the merger agreement was signed, BSMB bought 53 percent of MC Shipping’s common stock at $14.25 per share from its principal shareholders, Navalmar Transportes Maritimos and Weco-Rederi Holding.

MC Shipping has 35 days to solicit superior offers. The agreement with BSMB is subject to a $7.8 million break-up fee if MC Shipping accepts an alternative offer. Otherwise, MC Shipping’s shareholders will meet on 5 September to vote on the deal. The transaction will close immediately following the receipt of shareholder approval.

DnB NOR Markets was financial advisor to MC Shipping, and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy was legal counsel. HSBC Securities and Poten Capital Services were financial advisors to BSMB, while Weil, Gotshal & Manges was legal counsel.
BSMB was founded in 1997, and manages nearly $5 billion in committed capital. The firm closed its third private equity fund in August of last year on $2.7 billion. BSMB invests in middle market companies in the retail, financial services, consumer products and packaging sectors.

Its prior investments through its third fund include the January purchase of two Latin American divisions of US bank Wells Fargo for an undisclosed amount, and the April acquisition of Universal Hospital Services for $712 million.

The shipping sector has recently seen a number of high profile acquisitions and exits. Last week Aberdeen Asset Managers Growth Capital doubled its £21 million investment after exiting shipping and cargo handling business RMS Europe Group. In April, Fortress paid $2.4 billion to acquire Interpool, a provider of global equipment and services. January saw Close Brothers Private Equity earn £180 million in the sale of shipping company V. Ships, roughly a four times return on the firm’s original investment.