U.S. investment firm Ballylinch LP recently acquired 19.1% of Tourism Holdings Ltd (THL) from U.S. funds Sterling Grace Capital Management, Field Nominees, John Grace and Sterling Grace International for $17.2 million. The partial takeover offer gives Ballylinch LP control of New Zealand’s biggest campervan rental firm.
John Grace is also the sole director of Ballylinch, whose owner is listed as Scanhard Trustee, owned by John Orton and Jonathan Heaphy of Havelock North. Ballylinch is offering 67.5 cents a share for as much as 40.85% of the shares, which would bring its holding to about 60%, reported the New Zealand Herald.
However, the Herald report indicated that the offer is conditional on gaining a controlling stake of at least 50%. In a statement, Grace reiterated that the offer will provide Ballylinch with the ability to further invest in THL.
Grace noted that he has been a supporter of THL for many years and in these difficult times believes a company as important as THL in an industry as important to New Zealand as Tourism should have a stable cornerstone shareholder. Grace reiterated his confidence that the offer will be well supported by both big and small shareholders in the firm.
Major shareholders of Tourism Holdings include the Accident Compensation Corporation. However, the New Zealand Herald revealed that a New York private equity company is linked to Ballylinch LP and may be behind its bid for a controlling stake in Tourism Holdings.
According to a Bloomberg company overview, 53-year-old John Grace – director of Ballylinch LP’s general partner Ballylinch General – is the founder and chairman of the New York-based investment firm Sterling Grace Corporation, said the Herald report.