SEACOR Holdings Goes Private After 28 Years on the Big Board

File image courtesy Seabulk, a SEACOR company

Published Dec 7, 2020 2:47 PM by The Maritime Executive

The NYSE-listed conglomerate SEACOR Holdings has reached a deal with American Industrial Partners to go private after nearly three decades as a public company. The transaction is valued at about $1 billion.

SEACOR is a family business with a long history of growth, and its diverse portfolio touches nearly every aspect of the maritime industry in North America - Jones Act shipping, U.S. and international towing, inland tug and barge, military logistics, disaster response and Caribbean breakbulk (and more under JV partnerships). Over the years, it has also made well-timed entrances and exits in offshore drilling, OSV operations, helicopter services, spill response and more.

Co-founder, CEO and chairman Charles Fabrikant built the firm by investing in assets with careful timing and a long time horizon. "It requires patience and understanding potential changes in the market and in technology,” Fabrikant told the New York Times in 2015. “And it requires understanding the current cost of capital and the future cost of capital, and a deep understanding of what it would cost to replace that asset.”

For a public company, SEACOR has had an outsize focus on long term value, and its sale to an established private equity firm appears set to continue that tradition. It also comes on favorable terms: under the agreement, American Industrial Partners (AIP) will offer to buy all SEACOR shares at a 30 percent premium over the last 90-day weighted average. 

“This transaction is an exciting next step for SEACOR, delivering stockholders an immediate and meaningful premium for their shares and providing the company with access to additional growth capital and financial flexibility,” said Charles Fabrikant, SEACOR's executive chairman, CEO and co-founder. “AIP has demonstrated success investing in and growing industrial, services, and marine businesses, and I am confident our employees and customers will greatly benefit from this partnership.”

The family will stay at the helm after the sale, which is expected to close in the first quarter of the new year. Charles Fabrikant plans to step down from his executive positions, and his son Eric, SEACOR’s current chief operating officer, will take on the role of CEO.

“It has been an honor to work with a talented group of associates. I believe that SEACOR is well positioned to reach its next phase of growth under the leadership of Eric and the rest of the senior team, working in partnership with AIP," said Fabrikant.