State senator raises questions about TransPerfect sales process


A state senator has expressed concern over reports of a court-ordered sale of translation services company TransPerfect.

Colin Bonini, R-Dover, wrote a letter to Credit Suisse, the investment bank managing the court-ordered sale seeking assurances of the integrity of the sales process.

The sale was ordered by Chancery Court following an impasse over control of the company by founders and shareholders Elizabeth Elting and Philip Shawe. Elting owns half of the shares, while Shawe and his mother own the remainder.

The former couple ran the company as co-CEOs for many years, but saw their business relationship break down, with the issue of a sale moving to Chancery Court.

The company, based in New York City, has no operations in Delaware.

Elting has not opposed the Chancery sales process, while Shawe has filed numerous legal actions in Chancery and Federal court.

The industry publication Slatorreported Credit Suisse wants assurances from Shawe that he would not litigate the matter if he did not emerge as the successful bidder.

Bonini earlier sponsored a bill seeking a three-year cooling off period for the sale of the company. That bill has been championed by Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware, a group said to be comprised of TransPerfect employees and those opposed to a forced sale.

“My concern is heightened by rumors which suggest that one shareholder of TransPerfect is a buyer and the other shareholder of TransPerfect is a seller which, if true, leads me to question why an expensive auction process is necessary at all? With this background, I have become increasingly concerned by the news reports questioning the integrity of the $20+ million sale process,” Bonini wrote.

Among other things, Bonini wanted assurances about the role in the sale of a separate company that provides the technology backbone behind the TransPerfect system.

(See letter below)

Credit Suisse Letter - CRB

The Slator article also outlined issues that would need to be ironed out as part of the sale, including a non-compete agreement from Shawe and/or Elting. The lack of such an agreement would lower the value of the company.

The sale has proved to a giant headache for Chancery Court and the state, which saw its business legal system moving from first to No. 11 in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report

Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware claims the dispute had something to do with the drop from first place.

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