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.”
(Titanic Memorabilia Goes Beyond Mailed Covers,Linn’s Stamp News,7 Oct 2016)
The Equity Committee, along with the Unsecured Creditors Committee has set up a website so that Premier’s equity holders can have access to important information about the case. The website is http://www.upshotservices.com/premiercommittees. A recent letter to shareholders issued by the Equity Committee can be found here: http://www.upshotservices.com/rms%20titanic%20inc/equity%20committee%20website%20letter.pdf
1. Premier Exhibitions Asks Court For More Time To File Reorganization Plan (Bankruptcy Court News, 3 Oct 2016)
Premier Exhibitions has petitioned the court to allow it to extend the period to file a reorganization plan under Chapter 11 to 17 Jan 2017. “Under the circumstances of these cases, a premature termination of exclusivity would deny the Debtors a meaningful opportunity to negotiate and propose a confirmable plan and would be antithetical to the paramount objectives of Chapter 11. Termination of exclusivity at this point in time could have the undesirable effect of encouraging the development of competing multiple plans that could lead to unwarranted confrontations, litigation, and administrative expenses.” To cut to the chase of all the fancy legal wording, it means if they do not get the extended time other plans may emerge. Which sort of hints that there might be some other plan out there they want to head off.
2. For those on the Netflix service, your long wait has ended. James Cameron’s Titanic is coming to Netflix this month. At least for those in the U.S. Of course you could purchase it and never have to worry when it shows up on one of the online streaming services.
3. It is officially Halloween season here at Titanic News Channel. Our staff is up for the occasion. The mummy has come out its sleeping chamber to render some scares to kids in the area. Our old friend Headless is planning his usual evening strolls with pumpkin in hand looking for someone’s head. A few fluttering ghosts have been seen as well. We have classic zombies (not the Romero version) wandering about as well and quite possibly Frankenstein and Count Dracula as well. The stores are well stocked with Halloween candy to the rafters. Sadly Halloween is on a Monday this year. And with all the political correctness nonsense, even saying Happy Halloween in some schools is not only discouraged but banned. All the more reason for many parents to band together, invite the little kids over, and have their own Halloween event.
Summer is drawing to a close and schools are opening up. Sleepy eyed kids are getting on the local buses again to make the journey to school. It has been a quiet summer Titanic wise. Not a whole lot of news though some important news did occur.
Premier Exhibitions Declares Bankruptcy To Reorganize
The big news before the summer began was Premier declaring bankruptcy under Chapter 11 and seeking to reorganize. Typically this means the company has enough resources to stay afloat and needs the courts to reduce its liabilities. For creditors it means they usually get something but not everything. It means the court has to take a hard look at how the company operates which means an intensive look at the financial records and other aspects of the company.
While things have not gone well for a while with Premier, it was thought the Dinoking merger and bringing aboard its ceo to manage would bring things in line. What apparently occurred is that the debts owed by Premier were far greater than the cash infusion the merger could solve. So to stave off likely lawsuits from creditors, they headed to bankruptcy court. Now one of the big arguments is over the French Collection. These artifacts were brought up with a joint expedition with IFREMER and are separate from the other artifacts covered under the U.S. Federal Court salvage award. That salvage award limits how the artifacts can be sold, specifically as one collection making it very difficult to find buyers due to the high cost. However Premier believed it had clear title to the French artifacts and wanted to sell some of them to pay off debts. And sought permission from the court to do this. It was denied, in part, because bankruptcy law requires an adversary action to remove any possible claims to items that will be sold or auctioned off to pay debts.
So Premier is suing the French government in federal court. Premier has submitted documents that appear to support their position. Meanwhile we wait on France to decide whether it will contest a possible sale or file a brief saying they will not fight it.
So Much For Palmer’s Titanic II
Well it appears to be over. After all the fanfare and some preliminary work, the Clive Palmer’s dream to recreate Titanic has come to an end. No one can blame him for wanting to bring it about. It is a great dream. Despite all the positive news spun out by his public relations team, financing the construction proved harder than realized. It was to be constructed in China but the date for the work start came and went, new dates were set, but the shipyard remained quiet. Then came news that once it was launched it would stop in Dubai. That raised speculation that investors from that area were keen on tying in their own Titanic themed areas with this new ship. And I speculated that perhaps money to build could come from there (or even be built there). But Palmer’s relations with the Chinese took a real nosedive with his criticisms of a Chinese company and the lack of Chinese investors in the project meant it would go nowhere. So without much fanfare and no publicity, construction of Clive Palmer’s Titanic II has ended.
Chinese Titanic II
Palmer’s version fizzled but China is building their Titanic II that will docked at a theme park. It will be full size and look exactly like the original. It will also be a hotel and tourist attraction. Visitors will be able to stay aboard, sample high-end late Edwardian age cuisine, and even visit the Titanic Sinking Simulator. That has caused a lot of controversy. Perhaps what will stun visitors from the West is that likely the message about Titanic will be strongly anti-capitalist and demonstrate why the Chinese way is more superior. Just do not mention their awful human rights record or persecution of those who practice religion of any kind.
The current season is interesting but has its usual combination of the excellent, the not-so-good, and those just filling a slot until they are dropped. Poor Nathan is the butt of so many jokes. The bow tied tuxedo salesman (and he always wears a suit even when outside at the farm) may be good at cooking dishes alone but has severe problems working in a team. Some of the good have made their mistakes and departed but perhaps none worse than Andrea. She showed really excellent skills but when she failed to bring her sausage dish down to the front table at the right time, it was bad. Worse was how Gordon and company handled it. At this point they knew she was out of the contest. Instead they go through the mockery of tasting the dishes of which the two useful facts were announced: that she (Andrea) had the best dish while Diamond served up raw sausage. In a normal competition, Diamond would go home. But that is reality and not the often strange world of Masterchef that live in an alternate universe.
They knew Andrea was out the moment she put her plate down three seconds too late. Gordon seemed to argue with Christina and Chef Lee about her having the best dish but Christina reminded rules are rules. Do not be fooled, that was all for show as none of it was for real. It was to make it look like there was some dispute when none existed. Diamond, a weak contender, went into the next round and would be sent home in the next episode. In a real contest, Andrea would have been sent home immediately for missing the time requirement. No need to bother with tasting the dishes and move on to the next round. It just shows the strange world that Masterchef inhabits.
The U.S. Trustee has filed an objection to Premier’s motion to sell artifacts from the French Collection. “The Sale Motion should be denied because it is not noticed to all required parties, does not include a description of sale procedures, does not describe the property to be sold, and, at least at this early stage in the case, does not meet the standard.”
Source: Premier Exhibitions Objection Filed(Bankrupt Company News,6 Jul 2016)
Some interesting facts from Lillian Rizzo’s blog entry at Wall Street Journal on the Titanic bankruptcy filing:
1. Premier owes owes $12 million to unsecured creditors.
2. The company states that just the sale of four artifacts from the French Collection could fetch $10 million or more at auction.
3. The money raised from the sale would be used to pay off creditors,help the shareholders and keep the company afloat.
Source:Premier Exhibitions Floats Sale of Titanic Items(Wall Street Journal,22 June 2016)
Premier Exhibitions, the owner of RMS Titanic Inc and operates many touring exhibitions that includes Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company states in its press release:
Despite aggressive efforts to manage these issues, the burden of the
Company’s lease in New York City and other legacy business issues remain obstacles to the Company’s ability to conduct business. Faced with these obstacles and upcoming lease payments due, the company has
determined that it would be in the best interest of its stakeholders to
file for reorganization relief under Chapter 11. Operating under the
protection of Chapter 11 will provide the company’s most important
vendors with assurances that they will be paid. Further, the company
intends to create a restructuring plan that should allow Premier to
emerge as a stronger business. Further, as part of its restructuring
efforts, the company will continue to assess the productivity of all
assets, review additional cost-cutting initiatives and explore strategic
alternatives to maximize the value of the business.
Well this is both good and bad news for shareholders. Shareholders have seen the value of their shares fall (and suffered a double bounce as well)considerably. But the voluntary move to reorganize the company in bankruptcy court means it can reduce the liabilities causing it considerable problems. It also means they must open their books up for the court to examine (which will use independent auditors)to determine what the assets and liabilities are. Secured creditors will get paid but how much will be determined by the court.
Of course there is one big asset namely the Titanic Artifact Collection. And the bankruptcy court will now be handling its disposition. Interesting to see how that plays out down the road.
1.Premier Exhibitions, Inc. to Reorganize Under Chapter 11 (Nasdaq
Globe Newswire, 14 June 2016)
2. Premier Exhibitions in Chapter 11 bankruptcy (Atlanta Journal Constitution, 14 June 2016)
Learn about bankruptcy (Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11) for consumers and business owners.(Nolo.com)
Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition opened this week at V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. This is the first time the exhibition has been in South Africa and expectations are high that it will draw large crowds. The exhibition is open 9am to 6pm daily and will run until March 2016. To purchase tickets and further information, go to http://titanicexpo.co.za/.
Source: CT To Host Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition(Eyewitness News,22 Nov 2015)