According to a recent court filing, Premier Exhibitions has settled the largest general outstanding claim. The landlord of Premier’s former New York exhibition site asserted claims of $12.6 million in unpaid rent. Under the settlement, the former landlord will get $5.5 million and the other remaining claims are disallowed.
The deadline for submitting bids to be a stalking horse bidder for the acquisition of the company’s operating businesses and its assets has been extended to October 9, 2017. According to the press release:
Premier expects to conclude the process by October 9, 2017. In the event that an auction is to be conducted, it is expected that such auction will occur by December 12, 2017, at which time other potential bidders will have the opportunity to bid against the stalking horse bidder.
Among other things, bidders are competing to own the most valuable, unique collection of Titanic assets ever offered for sale. The collection includes approximately 5,500 individual pieces that have been recovered from the wreck site over the course of seven deep sea dives; ownership of video footage, imagery, and other intellectual and personal property; and the opportunity to be designated “salvor-in-possession,” permitting the owner exclusive salvage rights to the wreck and wreck site. The portfolio of artifacts, with enhancements recognizing the value of the intellectual property, was appraised at $218MM in 2014. The auction of the collection is subject to approval of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division, and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida (Jacksonville Division). For more information, please visit www.titanicartifacts.com.
1. Belfast’s Titanic Hotel Finally Opens After Birthplace Of Tragic Cruise Liner Is Transformed With £28MILLION Make-Over (Daily Mail, 11 Sep 2017) Chairman of Harcourt Developments, Mr Pat Doherty – who managed the project – welcomed family, friends, tourists and locals into the brand new site, which sat empty for thirty years. The dilapidated property, which is located on Belfast’s Queen’s Road, has been revived thanks in part to a £5million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Inside the new Titanic, however, guests will be housed in 120 rooms over four storeys, each with a classic, maritime-chic design. Thankfully, however, many of the original architectural features have been retained. The famous Drawing Rooms, where draftsmen sketched their designs for the ill-fated liner, have been sympathetically transformed into a function room and a bar. One even features the same tiles that lined the Titanic’s swimming pool.
2. Titanic Voyage To Be Recreated On Sydney Harbour (Guardian News, 21 Aug 2017) Beyond Cinema will take up to 1000 passengers on a sightseeing cruise boat for a screening of James Cameron’s hit movie, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet from 1997. After buying tickets to first-, second- or third-class decks, they will dress up as if it’s 1912 and eat meals appropriate to their class, with actors on board helping simulate the experience of being on the Titanic. “We’re going to fully theme the boat itself and recreate the atmosphere of the early 1900s,” the company’s creative director, Aden Levin, says. “Everyone will be given instructions on what clothing to wear. “They’ll also be given different characters that they will be on the boat.”
2.On 17 Aug 2017, a default entry of judgment was entered regarding the French Titanic Artifacts. Premier was required to file adverse legal action to compel France to declare whether they claimed ownership of these artifacts. They did not respond so the court has entered a default judgment in favor of Premier Exhibitions. This will allow these artifacts to be put up for auction. Source:Andrew Shapiro,Equity Security Holders of Premier Exhibitions, Inc
The story thus far: Premier Exhibitions, which owns RMS Titanic Inc, has filed for bankruptcy. A decision has been reached to sell the Titanic collection (the artifacts and intellectual property). One problem is the Titanic salvage award limits how those artifacts can be sold: as one collection. Past attempts to sell have failed because the price is too high. And now our story resumes….
Could a famous Hollywood director put together the money needed to buy the collection? The U.K. Daily Mail reports that James Cameron has begun a “secret” rescue mission to bring the Titanic artifacts to the U.K. He has apparently teamed up with Robert Ballard, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and the Royal Geographical Society to accomplish this. The figure being reported is £165 million.
Details of this “secret” mission were revealed at a court hearing last week by Ballard. Of course nothing is final and it is the very early stages. I doubt they will be the only party that will be interested. The Chinese would like to add it to their theme park and have money to spend as well. And there are investors in Dubai who also would not mind having the Titanic collection there as well that will draw in tourists. ave Vermillion, spokesman for RMS Titanic Inc, confirmed they have interest from all over the world.
Hopefully this time they will actually sell it to someone who will properly conserve it. The bidding war, if that is what it becomes, ought to be fascinating.
As most of you are aware, Premier Exhibitions filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 which allows it to reorganize. On Friday it was announced that the Premier Exhibitions Equity Committee had entered into an agreement that “will include the sale all of the Debtors’ assets, including the entire Titanic Artifacts Collection either as assets of the estate or through the sale of RMS Titanic Inc., the company that holds the Titanic Artifacts. The remaining Debtors and their assets likewise would be sold.”
What it means is this: the company can be sold either whole or in parts depending upon the buyers interests. And the Titanic artifacts can be sold either as part of the sale of the whole company or through selling RMS Titanic Inc. The snag that has caused no sale on those artifacts under the salvage award is that they cannot be sold in lots or individually but as the one collection. And the price is simply too high. Under the present circumstances, the price might be lowered and also the possibility the bankruptcy judge might order it sold in lots in order to be sold. Before any of this can move forward, the judge has to agree to a disclosure statement.
Long ago when RMS Titanic Inc was made part of Premier (after some of the original founders of the company were removed and replaced) many thought it would lead to a better valued company. One wonders what really happened here. Titanic became very big after the movie and the centennial of the sinking. Belfast Titanic has done very well and makes money. Either the company was mismanaged and got way over their head or totally miscalculated how to monetize the assets (their exhibitions) to make a profit. Instead of Chapter 11, this is more like Chapter 13 now. The company’s assets are going to be sold in whole or in part to others now. The ghost of George Tulloch is laughing at those that brought this about.
Things are getting a bit testy at the Titanic bankruptcy proceeding. Euclid Investments and Euclid Claims Recovery filed an objection to the company seeking an exclusivity extension. In simple terms they are not happy that Premier appears to be dragging its feet on following through on what is required to be done. “….management’s abject failure to engage with the statutory committees in moving these cases forward before now cannot be ignored. It has had the effect of placing estate stakeholders in an urgent and untenable position with little time remaining to formulate the terms of a chapter 11 plan as the estates now appear on the verge of operational insolvency.” Ouch.
Source: Premier Exhibitions Objection Filed (Bankruptcy News, 4 Jan 2017)
As part of the ongoing process to determine the best way to proceed with the Chapter 11 reorganization, Teneo Securities has been approved by the court to serve as financial advisor to the Equity Security Holders Committee. The firm will analyze and assess the assets and liabilities of Premier Exhibitions and advise the committee on ways to mitigate the liabilities to return the company to profitability.
Ann Schmitt, lead curator of the Peoria Riverfront Museum, has a few theories on the enduring fascination with the Titanic. The human interest in those that perished with the sinking ship continues, bolstered by the cinematic depiction in the blockbuster 1997 film of the same name. Schmitt also noted a Romantic idea of the ship has formed in the resulting century, coupled with an ongoing obsession with large-scale disasters. Whatever cocktail of psychology lies behind the fascination, it hasn’t been enough to satiate our appetite for more information about the Titanic. Schmitt would know best. “I’ve seen four different Titanic exhibits, and I’d see another one if it came to Chicago,” Schmitt said.
Source: New Riverfront Museum exhibit explores the enduring fascination of the Titanic (Journal Star,9 Nov 2016)
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition will be at the Peoria Riverfront Museum from 12 November 2016-12 March 2017. It is strongly encouraged you purchase tickets online. For details about hours,purchasing tickets,and other information go to www.peoriariverfrontmuseum.org.
*Fox News reports that a rare Titanic key with a brass tag stamped “Locker 14 D Deck” is up for sale. It was found in the body of Titanic Third Class Steward Sidney Sedunary. A direct descendant of Sedunary has put it up for auction with well known Titanic memorabilia auctioneer Henry Aldridge & Son. It is valued at somewhere between $36,640-$61.070. It will be auctioned off on 22 Oct 2016.
*Premier Exhibitions has inked a deal with Infinity Filmed Entertainment Group and Partners in Motion to allow them exclusive access to Titanic artifacts for a new television series. The series titled Titanic: Stories from the Deep will explore the stories behind the artifacts. The series is expected to move into production in 2017. (Titanic Artifacts To Be Examined In New Series, TVReal.ws 14Oct2016)
*I never knew there were people that collected mourning covers sent via the mail. There were many printed after the Titanic disaster for people to mail to friends or others indicating their sadness at the tragedy. A writer for Linn’s Stamp News looked recently at two such but unmailed covers. What caught his attention was not the cover itself (which he said was typical of the period)but the words inside: “She struck where the white and fleecy waves,
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side,
Like the horns of an angry bull.
Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
With the masts went by the board,
Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,
Ho! Ho! The breakers roared.”