Recent Mark Sellers interview where he comments on his plans with Premier and his life after Sellers Capital.
“In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t ever gotten involved in the company,” Sellers said. “If I can get out of it and break even or better, I’d have to say that’s a big victory.”
But it’s not that simple. At Friday’s closing price, $1.92, Premier’s market capitalization was about $89 million — far less than the appraised value of its Titanic holdings, which Sellers said is more than $145 million. Sellers said his fund’s investment in Premier is almost at break even.
But liquidating all that stock — the rough equivalent of about a year’s worth of trading volume — isn’t an option, since it would drive the price lower.
Key to Premier’s future and Sellers’ eventual exit from the company: monetize the Titanic.
With the 100th anniversary of the storied liner’s 1912 sinking coming up, timing is key. A well-publicized expedition to the wreck site in August helped stoke interest. A federal court ruling in August also provided some assurance that Premier couldn’t simply be stripped of its salvage rights to Titanic without a payment of about $110 million from the U.S. government.
“My plan is to make sure that the Titanic assets are well taken care of,” he said. “Whether they are held by Premier or held by someone else, I feel as though it’s almost a larger duty that I have. It’s an international treasure. I don’t want someone to piece them out and sell them on eBay or put them in a private collection never to be seen again by the general public.
“So I’m going to stay involved until there is some certainty about what is going to happen with those Titanic assets.”
Today, Sellers Capital controls 46 percent of Premier shares, representing the hedge fund’s only current investments. Once the Premier investment is sold off — Sellers makes no bones that selling the stock at a profit is his end game — Sellers Capital will cease to exist.