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Three law firms investigating Genco’s Baltic Trading acquisition

London: Two more law firms have announced they are investigating concerns over whether Baltic Trading’s board of directors is breaching its fiduciary duties by agreeing to sell the company to Genco Shipping at a price that may be unfair to Baltic shareholders.

Former United States Securities and Exchange Commission attorney Willie Briscoe and the securities litigation firm of Dallas-based Powers Taylor are investigating potential claims against Baltic Trading’s board of directors.

New York-based law firm Wolf Popper has also joined the party today, in addition to Pennsylvania-headquartered Brodsky & Smith, which announced its involvement yesterday.

Under the terms of the takeover agreement with Genco, Baltic shareholders will only receive 0.216 of a share of Genco common stock for each share owned. The proposed transaction is valued at $1.69 per share or around $99m in preliminary equity value.

The law firms say this price represents virtually no premium over the price of Baltic stock before the announcement and is significantly lower than at least one analyst’s estimated value of $4.00 per share.

The offer price has a nominal 4.3% premium to Baltic’s closing price on April 7, the day before the deal was announced, but is still significantly below the stock’s 52-week high of $6.86 per share.

The merger via a share swap was announced on Wednesday by Greek shipping entrepreneur Peter Georgiopoulos, who is chairman of both boards of directors. The merged entity would have a combined fleet of 70 dry bulk ships with a 5.16m dwt carrying capacity.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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