Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Former Buffett Heir Apparent David Sokol Resurfaces In the Shipping Business

We have a lot of stuff on Mr. Sokol what with the wind and the gas and the BRK Mid-American Energy and all. Some links below.
From Cision-PR Newswire:

Seaspan Enters Into Definitive Agreements for $250 Million Unsecured 5.50% Debenture and Warrant Investment with Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited
HONG KONG, Jan. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ - Seaspan Corporation (NYSE: SSW) ("Seaspan" or the "Company") announced today that Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, through certain subsidiaries (collectively, "Fairfax"), has entered into definitive agreements for the previously announced US$250 million investment in Seaspan 5.5% interest bearing unsecured debentures (the "Debentures") and Class A Common Share purchase warrants (the "Warrants"). The transaction is expected to close before March 1st, and Seaspan intends to use the proceeds from the investment to fund future growth initiatives, debt repayment and for general corporate purposes.

David Sokol, Chairman of Seaspan Corporation, commented, "I am very pleased to announce the finalization of our agreements with Fairfax, and look forward to beginning our partnership at such an exciting time for the company. Under Bing's leadership, Seaspan will continue to grow and optimize the franchise in order to benefit our investors, customers, employees, and other key stakeholders."

"We are excited about our investment and partnership with Seaspan." said Prem Watsa, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fairfax. "I have known both David Sokol and Dennis Washington for many years through the Horatio Alger Association. David has one of the most outstanding records I have come across, as he built Mid American Energy from revenue of $116 million in 1991 to revenue of $11 billion in 2010, while net income increased from $27 million to $1.2 billion over the same period, representing a compound growth rate of 22.4% per year. David is a man of the highest integrity and we are proud to partner with him. Dennis, of course, is one of North America's most successful entrepreneurs and a wonderful human being."...MORE
Oddly enough Seaspan doesn't employ the services of BusinessWire (a Berkshire Hathaway company) for their press releases.
Another oddity, Mr. Watsa is known as the Warren Buffett of Canada although he isn't really.

Previous posts on Mr. Sokol:
August 2015
Oil: "End Of The Line For Buffett's Burlington Northern" (BRK)
Burlington Northern is the largest hauler of crude out of the Bakken.
Should this scenario play out, and knowing Warren's almost chameleon-like promotional abilities, I would expect him to begin buffing his already-verdant green credentials and in particular those of the former Mid-American Energy division, now renamed Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which, under disgraced former heir-apparent David Sokol, became the owner of the largest wind turbine fleet in the U.S. and which, under current head Greg Abel, will become the largest single owner of utility-scale solar operations.
Just don't mention the coal....
August 2011 
Former Berkshire Hathaway Bigwig David Sokol Continues Buying Middleburg Financial (MBRG)  
The speculation is that this is going to be a "mini-Berkshire".
I don't know about that, Dave isn't Warren, but he is a good operator....

... We had a flurry of posts on Middleburg last March, here are a couple:

March 31
Middleburg Financial Approaching Escape Velocity on Word Sokol Was Buying Within the Last Two Weeks (MBRG; BRK.A)
March 31 
UPDATED: "Sokol: Off to Middleburg Financial? (Its Shares Are Soaring)" MBRG; BRK.B
March 2011 
Climateer line of the Day: Billionaire Insider Trading Edition
From a friend:

" I don't know if what Sokol did was illegal but I've got to tell you,
I felt safer after Martha Stewart was locked up.
First Runner-up:
A real oracle would have seen this coming.
-Anonymous Zerohedge commenter on 
Warren Buffett's reaction
David Sokol resigns from Berkshire Hathaway
David Sokol resigns from Berkshire Hathaway …Middleburg Financial Corp.’s sugar daddy David Sokol has resigned from Berkshire Hathaway. Sokol  of the handy “Berkshire benefactor” alliteration, it might mean that Sokol will be freed up to join Middleburg…
BizBeat 3/30/2011

March 2011 
Deal Journal is Running a Reader Poll on David Sokol's Lubrizol Trades! (BRK.A; BRK.B)
LIVE BLOG - David Sokol's Live Interview on CNBC's Squawk Box (BRK.A; BRK.B)
David Sokol Resigns From Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A; BRK.B)
December 2010 
Berkshire Hathaway Subsidiary Gives Siemens Largest Onshore Wind Turbine Order (BRK.B; SI)
August 2010 
2016: "U.S. Facing a `Painful Period' as Debt Is Unwound, Berkshire's Sokol Says" and Fortune's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about David Sokol article (BRK.B; BRK.A)

And many, many more. Use the search blog box if interested.

Warren really trusted him.