A consortium that includes the world's sixth largest maritime container shipping company wants to take over the parent company of Vancouver-based Seaspan, the world’s largest lessor of container ships.
Poseidon Acquisition Corp.’s August 4 takeover bid includes a 30 per cent premium over Atlas Corp.’s (NYSE:ATCO) share price prior to the announcement.
News of the bid to take Atlas private boosted the asset manager’s stock price 22.9 per cent. Atlas stock was trading at US$14 as of August 11.
Seaspan generates the bulk of revenue for Atlas, which has a market cap of approximately US$3.5 billion.
Bing Chen, president and CEO of Atlas, referenced the takeover bid at the outset of the company’s 2022 second-quarter earnings call, but would say only that “we cannot comment on the proposal.”
In a statement, Atlas cautioned that it “has only recently received the proposal letter and has not had an opportunity to carefully review and evaluate the proposal or make any decision with respect to Atlas response to the proposal.”
The Poseidon consortium includes David Sokol, the chairman of the Atlas board of directors; affiliates of the Washington family; affiliates of Fairfax Financial Holdings; and Ocean Network Express.
Together, they own more than 50 per cent of Atlas’ outstanding common shares.
The target of the takeover bid continues to post impressive numbers, especially when it comes to Seaspan’s contribution.
Second-quarter revenue for Atlas was US$413 million, which was up 4.9 per cent from the same quarter in 2021. Net income was up 2.6 per cent to US$279.5 million; US$252.4 million of that income was generated by Seaspan.
Atlas subsidiary APR Energy, the world’s largest mobile gas turbine fleet owner and operator, generated US$27 million in the quarter.
Seaspan’s operating containership fleet has grown to 134 from zero in 2001. It also has 67 ships under construction and will have an operating fleet of 201 ships with a total carrying capacity of 1.95 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) when Seaspan’s newbuilds are delivered.
It celebrated its 20th anniversary late last year with third-quarter financials that included profit up 31 per cent to US$256 million compared with the same quarter in 2020.
In an August 4 Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Sokol stated that “the Consortium believes the proposed transaction will provide Atlas’s common shareholders with immediate liquidity and certainty of value at a significant premium to the current share price, while allowing Atlas to focus on the long term without the emphasis on short-term results and providing Atlas with an ideal strategic partner to support its future growth.”