The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a equity holders and lenders behind Premier Exhibitions have made a $17.5 million offer to acquire the company. The entities involved are PacBridge Capital Partners Ltd., as well as funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management LLC and Alta Fundamental Advisers LLC and other equity holders as well. The papers were filed with the court on 15 June 2018. According to the Wall Street Journal:
The prospective buyers will hold the sale process open to other qualified bidders, with Aug. 8 as the proposed bid deadline. If other interested bidders come forward, an auction would be held on Aug. 13.
This is a very interesting turn of events. Up till now all attempts to sell the artifacts have failed to materialize (including the more recent famous one by James Cameron). Whether this will bear fruit or wither on the vine remains to be seen. You can view the document here.
Source:Titanic Artifacts May Soon Join Apollo, Alta Portfolios (Wall Street Journal, 20 June 2018)
Premier Exhibitions Update-On May 25, 2018 the Bankruptcy Court granted the Equity Committee legal standing to pursue claims against current and former officers and directors of Premier Exhibitions. In short it means they have the ability to demand they pay damages to help reduce the outstanding debts of the company. Since they have retained counsel, it means they expect it will result in litigation to determine whether they are liable and if so, how much they will have to pay.
View original document here.
View materials on the case here.
New Details on Secret Navy Mission Where Titanic Was Found-Some years ago it was revealed Titanic was discovered as part of a secret Navy mission that Ballard was on. He was sent on a mission to try to find out how two U.S. nuclear submarines had sunk. Using new submersible technology Ballard found those wrecks and the approximate location of Titanic. The National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C. reveals more of the details of that secret mission. “Titanic: The Untold Story” delves into the many details that have not been publicly revealed until now.
In 1985, Ballard’s mission was to dive to depths of 9,800 feet using a towed camera system called Argo to find and document the imploded remains of the Scorpion. The objective of the mission was to locate the submarine’s nuclear reactor and nuclear weapons and to gain evidence to help determine what led to her loss. After concluding his successful investigations of the Scorpion, Ballard used the final 12 days of his expedition to discover the RMS Titanic at a depth of 12,540 feet. The following year, while the public was enthralled and distracted by the discovery of the Titanic, Ballard returned on a second classified mission to the Thresher and Scorpion.
Visitors will view artifacts, materials and photographs from the U.S. Navy Archives, and see the submersible Alvin that dived to Titanic. They will also see a variety of Titanic related artifacts from the National Archives and movie memorabilia from 20th Century Fox.
According to Richmond News, Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition will be at the Lipont Centre in Richmond, Canada from 23 June 2018-11 Jan 2019. The newspaper reports that that Lipont was selected because of its spaciousness and convenient location. Toni McAfee, executive director of Lipont Centre, told the newspaper: “At Lipont Place the Titanic exhibition will find a natural home allowing both the venue and the exhibition to make their debut in Metro Vancouver,” says McAfee. “We look forward to welcoming all visitors, local and international, to the magnificent space and this world-class exhibition.”
The mediator appointed in the Premier bankruptcy proceedings has filed a report with the court. The report states in part:
Significant progress was made in reaching agreement among a number of the parties on a path for exiting the Chapter 11 cases. However, certain of the parties are continuing their dialogue in an effort to reach closure on some important remaining issues. The parties have requested the mediator to maintain the confidentiality of the nature and extent of settlement until the finalization of agreements between some or all of the parties, particularly in light of the fact that equity securities of Premier Exhibitions, Inc. are publicly traded.
Titanic Hotel’ In London With Same Dining Room As The Fateful Ship Reopens After £85M Makeover (The Sun, 16 Feb 2018) IT’S been 106 years since the Titanic sunk after striking an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean. And now a hotel with strong links to the tragedy is due to reopen after a huge £85 million refurbishment – a day after the anniversary of the sinking of the ship.The former Hotel Russell in London’s Bloomsbury has been renamed Principal London, and reopens its doors on on April 16. The Grade II listed building was designed by Charles Fitzroy Doll in 1898, and the ornate dining room on board the Titanic, also designed by him, is said to be a replica of the hotel’s. Several passengers on the ship also stayed at the hotel before they set sail on the Titanic from Southampton. There’s also a bronze dragon in the hotel that’s the twin of one that went down on the ship.
Titanic Costume Exhibit Woven Into Vanderbilt Family History At Biltmore(16 Feb 2017,Citizen Times) With its new exhibition of costumes from the movie “Titanic,” Biltmore brings its costume shows back from England and Europe and lands its guests squarely in America. It’s an emotional homecoming that’s deeply personal for Biltmore’s founder. After all, George Vanderbilt had tickets on the Titanic for himself and his wife, Edith, in early 1912. “We have it in writing,” notes Biltmore associate curator Lauren Henry. “It’s not a legend, it’s a fact that Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt were booked to be on Titanic.”
Clerkenwell Titanic Victim Signed On The Day Liner Left(Islington Tribune, 16 Feb 2018) Among them was Everett Edward Elliott, who lived in Wilmington Street, Clerkenwell. At only 24 years of age, he signed on as a trimmer on April 10, 1912, on the morning the Titanic left Southampton. His body, recovered by rescue ship Mackay-Bennett, lies in Halifax municipal cemetery.
Premier Exhibitions Bankruptcy Mediator Sought(Bankrupt Company News,16 Feb 2018) Premier Exhibitions and its official committees of equity security holders and unsecured creditors filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court a joint motion for appointment of mediator and to schedule mediation. The motion explains, “The Parties believe it is in the best interest of the estate to mediate any and all matters arising out of or related to the Plan or any other restructuring or liquidating plan, any restructuring and liquidation options and alternatives, the sale of the Debtors’ assets, and any related issues that the Parties agree to mediate. The Parties believe that mediation will help avoid a prolonged confirmation fight among them.”
The Titanic Museum Hosts Secret Dinner Parties You’ve Got To See To Believe(15 Feb 2018, Delish) It’s a striking sight, for sure, but then again, just beyond it is a massive castle, an inn where it’s Christmas year-round, and a towering King Kong climbing a cartoonish copy of the Empire State Building. No, I’m not tripping. This is Pigeon Forge, TN, home to Dollywood, wax museums, and every kind of tourist attraction imaginable — but I’ve got my sights set on the unsinkable ship that, tragically, sank more than 100 years ago. There’s a secret dining room inside that serves a three-course meal worthy of the White Star Line, but only for groups of 35 or more.
The saga of the Premier Exhibitions bankruptcy has taken another turn. An auction that was set for February 6 has been canceled. According to the press release, the reason given is to discuss further with stakeholders the best path forward. However a new twist has emerged that prompted to cancel.The National Maritime Museum of Greenwich has filed a motion to move the action to the federal court in Virginia where the salvage award was made. Another group called the Ad Hoc Equity group is also filed a motion objecting to the sale.
Until the motions are heard and decided upon, Premier decided to withdraw the sale. The first motion by the National Maritime Museum is the most serious of them. They are trying to argue that due to the special and unique nature of Premier holding Titanic artifacts in which a salvage award was made by another federal court that it ought to have primary jurisdiction in this case. The objection to that is that court is not bankruptcy and has no business handling such matters. Bankruptcy is very different from salvage with its own laws and procedures. This motion will chew up lots of time and depending on how the decision comes down, drag this into the appeals court.
The other possibility is that those in charge will throw up their hands, declare they cannot reorganize under these circumstances, and go into Chapter 7. Which means complete liquidation of the company and selling all assets to pay creditors and stakeholders.
Not a Happy Christmas for Premier shareholders hoping for some return on equity in the near future.
According to a press release issued by Premier, the company has proposed February 6, 2018 as the auction date of company assets. This sale, subject to court approval, will allow bidders to purchase the company or its assets. Included in this auction are Titanic artifacts. However the company maintains the right to designate a stalking horse bidder before the auction deadline.
The bankruptcy proceedings of Premier Exhibitions have been lumbering on for a while with not much to report on. But on 17 August a major decision was made. Premier decided to put up for sale a certain set of artifacts known collectively as the French Artifacts. These artifacts were brought up as part of a joint project but were excluded from the salvage award currently in place as they were property of the French government.
Premier filed to put these up for sale. Papers were served on French Embassy notifying them of the claim and their right to challenge it in court. Well they did not do so. As a result a default judgment has been entered against them with a finding that France had no interest in the French Artifacts. After some formal paperwork is done, the next step will be to come up with a satisfactory method of auctioning them off so that debts can be retired and creditors paid.
The artifacts covered under the current salvage award are unaffected by this decision.
Premier Exhibitions has confirmed it has received multiple letters of intent to be a stalking horse bidder for its assets which include the Titanic artifact collection. Both the company and the equity security holders committee will assess the bidders qualifications and announce on 25 September 2017 who the stalking horse bidder will be. An auction, if needed, will occur by 30 November 2017 and other bidders will be able to bid at that time.
Source: Premier Exhibitions Titanic Artifact Bidders Confirmed (bankruptcompanynews,26 Jul 2017)
August is nearly here and summer is in full bloom. Titanic news has been quiet. There are still news stories out there about the Premiere Exhibitions bankruptcy and the possible sale of Titanic artifacts. Analysts hope Premier is able to get out of the hole it is in. Ditto for the shareholders who are hoping that at long last perhaps the company will get back on track.
Of course the debate raging in some circles is over Titanic artifacts. Premier has a difficult time trying to sell them before as the salvage award restricts their sale and it comes with restrictions for the buyer. James Cameron is diving into the fray trying to raise money to buy them. The best outcome might be for some government or government backed entity to buy them. The huge price tag keeps most museums and institutions from really pursuing the matter. Of course all bets would be off should Premier decide to liquidate rather than reorganize. And no one is talking about that right now.
The International Ice Patrol has for a long time depended upon planes to spot and help track icebergs. Their work is very important for everyone who transits across the North Atlantic. And thanks to their work, the threat of icebergs to ships has been greatly reduced. Now they are making changes. Instead of flying planes as much, the Ice Patrol is implementing the use of satellite technology to detect and monitor icebergs. The problem though is that satellite images only detect icebergs only 50% of the time compared to using planes. For the moment a combination of planes and satellite images are going to be used to monitor icebergs. (Keeping an Eye on What the Arctic Throws Down Iceberg Alley,newsdeeply.com,21 July 2017)
Molly Brown was one of the people that became well known after Titanic sank. Her 150th birthday was recently celebrated at her home in Denver, Colorado. As befitting her style, it was celebrated as a block party. Food, entertainment and tours of her home (now a museum) were done. She was quite a gal.