Top Ships pulls out of takeover talks

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Top Ships has pulled out of takeover talks with an affiliate of Greek Billionaire shipowner George Economou after it reduced its offer price from $6 per share to $3 per share in cash for Top Ships stock.

Top Ships said that “after consideration of numerous factors, including the recent volatility in global markets and decline in the company’s share price on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the company’s Board of Directors has determined that this offer is not in the best interests of shareholders.”

Top Ships had extended the deadline for the exclusivity agreement with an affiliate of George Economou, the Greek shipowner (pictured), from September 22 but that deadline expired yesterday.

Evangelos Pistiolis, head of Top Ships, told SMI: “These days pretty much nothing is changing hands and it is even hard to sell your car. But the way things develop, things at both ends can change. His mind could change because financing is hard and does he really want more ships than he already has? And on our front it might also change in that it might be better to stay in the game and get better opportunities at some point in time.

“It is a bit of a changing game. I am saying the deadline is today but it could happen sometime at a later stage or not happen at all. This whole thing started a couple of days before the storm started. Maybe it is worth keeping your assets and waiting until better days come along: a matter of realigning your priorities. Things are changing so quickly that we need the dust to settle,” Mr Pistiolis told SMI.

Mr Economou reportedly already holds 18% of TOP Ships, through Sphinx Investment and its Liberian registered parent Mayport Navigation.

Top Ships operates seven double-hull handymax product tankers, all with time charters on average of two years. The company also has six newbuilding MR 50,000 dwt vessels on order at South Korea’s SPP Shipbuilding for delivery in the first half of 2009. All of the Korean newbuildings have ‘first rate’ bareboat charters agreed of between seven and 10 years, TOP Ships said.