Wednesday, December 8

Blackstone Boosts Carrix Stake as Smith, Hemingway Families Sell

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(Bloomberg) — Blackstone Infrastructure Partners bought out the controlling shareholders of Carrix Inc., one of the world’s largest marine-terminal operators.

The families had been weighing a sale of their holding in the Seattle-based company, Bloomberg reported in June. The stake was expected to fetch $2.5 billion or more, people familiar with the matter said at the time, asking not to be identified because the talks were private.

“The Smith/Hemingway family sold its shares to Blackstone Infrastructure Partners,” Bob Watters, a Carrix spokesman, said in an emailed statement, declining to comment on details of the transaction. Paula Chirhart, a Blackstone representative, declined to comment.


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Founded in 1949 by middle-school dropout Fred Smith, Carrix was previously co-run by his son Ricky Smith, who later handed the reins over to Jon Hemingway, his nephew through marriage, according to a 1996 Seattle Times report. Hemingway, who joined the company in 1985, became president and chief executive officer in 1991. In 2012, Hemingway became chairman after hiring Knud Stubkjaer as CEO.

Hemingway has relinquished the chairman role to Blackstone’s Sebastien Sherman, Carrix’s website shows.

Marine terminals have been in favor as global supply-chain issues highlight the crucial nature of transportation and logistics assets. Last week, French shipping company CMA CGM SA agreed to buy out the majority owners of Fenix ​​Marine Services, which operates a container terminal in the Port of Los Angeles, in a deal with an enterprise value of $2.3 billion. CMA CGM already owned a 10% stake. In a similar transaction, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in September agreed to acquire control of Ports America, the largest US terminal operator , in which it previously owned a minority stake.


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Carrix is ​​the parent of SSA Marine, which operates more than 200 port and rail locations in Panama, Chile, Mexico and Canada, as well as US cities including Oakland and Long Beach, California.

In 2019, Blackstone Inc.’s infrastructure arm acquired a roughly 20% stake in Carrix, which still counts billionaire Fernando Chico Pardo as a board member and investor. The Smith and Hemingway families in 2014 repurchased a stake that had been held by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s infrastructure unit and others since 2007.

Across the US, wealthy families have been exploring ways to cash out ahead of potential changes to tax laws.

©2021 Bloomberg LP



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