Stonepeak Is Said to Put Barge Operator Tidewater Up for Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, a $15 billion firm led by former Blackstone Group LP dealmakers, is seeking to sell barge and terminal operator Tidewater Holdings Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Tidewater could fetch a price around $500 million, said some of the people, who asked not to be identified because the sale process is confidential. A Stonepeak representative declined to comment.

Vancouver, Washington-based Tidewater transports commodities including petroleum products, waste, grain and woodchips, according to Stonepeak’s website. Its reach spans 465 miles (748 kilometers) from the Pacific Coast to the inland Port of Lewiston, Idaho, including along the Columbia and Snake River systems. Stonepeak acquired the business in 2012.

Stonepeak is planning to open an office in Austin, Texas, in part to protect its executives from potentially higher New York state taxes, Bloomberg reported last week. It’s the second infrastructure investor known to be plotting such a move, with I Squared Capital -- a firm founded by former Morgan Stanley dealmakers -- set to open a Miami office this year.

Transportation-related assets in North America and elsewhere are favored by infrastructure and pension funds for their relatively stable returns. Last week, IFM Investors and British Columbia Investment Management Corp. agreed to buy minority stakes in GCT Global Container Terminals from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. GCT operates terminals in New York, New Jersey, Vancouver and Delta, Canada. Last year, EQT Infrastructure bought a majority interest in Global Gateway South, a container terminal in the Port of Los Angeles.

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