A private equity firm reportedly wants to intervene in an agreement calling for Philip Shawe to purchase translation and business services firm TransPerfect.
A report indicated that Miami, FL-based H.I.G. Capital filed a sealed document in Delaware Chancery Court regarding the sale of the translation and business services company.
H.I.G. did not immediately return an email requesting comment on the report.
Robert Pincus, the Chancery Court-appointed trustee for TransPerfect earlier released a letter to employees announcing that Shawe would purchase Elizabeth Elting’s share of the company. The former couple, who serve as co-CEOs, had been locked in a dispute over control of the company.
The custodian was appointed to supervise the sale of the New York City-based company, which is incorporated in Delaware.
Shawe owns 49 percent of the company, with his mother owning 1 percent and Elting controlling the remainder.
H.I.G.’s portfolio of companies includes translation services company Lionbridge, which was reportedly a bidder for TransPerfect.
The Elting-Shawe dispute led a group of employees to form a Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware. The group pushed for legislation calling for a three-year delay of the sale of the profitable company.
Citizens expressed support for the sale to Shawe.
Chris Coffey, Campaign Manager for Citizens issued the following statement:
“If your reports are true, it confirms the rumors we have heard for the last two days. Our members finally received some stability with Custodian Pincus’s notification last week. ForH.I.G. to try to highjack the process, is deeply troubling. We know their MO. Move jobs overseas to make the cost of labor cheaper. We’ve seen the movie before and it has a scary ending. If they are simply trying to force more employees out of the company with these scare tactics, it won’t work.”
H.I.G. has a history in Delaware. The company was involved in the sale of a long-time Delaware industrial employer in the early 2000s.
H.I.G. profited from its investment in Claymont Steel, which was sold by a company owned by the Chinese government.
Prior to the sale, the one-mill company had issued stock and during its brief time as a public company remained profitable but did not undertake major capital improvements that might have made the mill more competitive.
New Russian owner Evraz paid more than a half a billion dollars for the mill and made some improvements, but closed the 300-employee site several years later after the market for steel plate used in transportation projects collapsed.
The mill has been razed by a St. Louis-based commercial real estate company that plans to redevelop the site.