Herkules Capital to acquire Seagull from GMT

GMT Communications Partners has agreed to sell Seagull Group to Herkules Capital. No financial terms were disclosed for the transaction that is expected to be completed in mid-June. Capstan Capital Partners provided advice to GMT on the transaction. Seagull is a provider of training and compliance tools for the maritime, oil and gas sectors.

PRESS RELEASE

GMT Communications Partners (“GMT”), the European private equity firm focused on investments in Content, Communications Infrastructure and Tech-Enabled Services, has agreed to sell Seagull Group (“Seagull”), the leading provider of technology-enabled training and compliance tools for the maritime, oil and gas industries, to Herkules Capital. Closing is expected in mid-June.

The sale of Seagull delivers a 2.3x return to GMT in two and a half years. As a result, GMT III will have returned 85% of drawn down capital from just three exits to date.

GMT originally backed Seagull in 2012, alongside Oscar Johansen and Roger Ringstad, Chairman and Managing Director, respectively. Seagull’s offerings are delivered through cloud-based and on-site solutions, for use on-board vessels, in offices and maritime colleges, as well as online. Seagull’s comprehensive multi-language e-learning library and technology platform provides video and computer-based courses to improve general seafarer knowledge and to meet standards set by international regulatory bodies.

Over the period of GMT’s investment, Seagull increased its investment in off-the shelf content library and software as well as growing its specialised sales team, to enable the business to expand its product offering and its global client base. As a result, the Maritime division increased revenue and EBITDA by close to 40% and 60% respectively, over two years from 2012 to 2014. In addition, Seagull diversified into the Oil and Gas market in 2014, making two acquisitions and establishing Seagull Oil & Gas as a new division, to serve the specialist needs of that sector.

Seagull’s customers include many leading shipping companies and the system has approximately 9,000 installations today, almost all of which are seagoing vessels. The company now has 125 employees across its headquarters in Norway and offices in Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Japan, Poland, Singapore and the UK, enabling it to support a global customer base.

Capstan Capital Partners advised GMT on the transaction, Shearman & Sterling and Tenden Advokatfirma provided legal advice.

Natalie Tydeman, Senior Partner at GMT, said:
“We have greatly enjoyed working with Oscar, Roger and the rest of the Seagull team over the past two and a half years. They are an excellent management team that has delivered strong growth in the core business, whilst also leading the company into new markets. We wish them continued success with their new partners.”

Oscar Johansen, Chairman of Seagull, commented:
“We would like to thank GMT for their valued input and a positive and enjoyable working relationship during the last two and a half years. We’re delighted with the progress Seagull has made during that time.”