Carrix’s Majority Owners Exploring $2.5 Billion Stake Sale

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The controlling shareholders of Carrix Inc., the largest marine-terminal operator in the U.S., are exploring a sale of their majority stake, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The Smith and Hemingway families are weighing a sale of their roughly 51% stake in the Seattle-based company, which could fetch $2.5 billion or more, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private.

Concession-based assets such as marine terminals have long attracted interest from infrastructure-focused private equity funds and pension funds, due to the perceived stability of earnings and because they are essentially natural monopolies.

Founded in 1949 by middle-school dropout Fred Smith, Carrix was previously co-run by his son Ricky Smith, who later handed the reins over to Jon Hemingway, his nephew through marriage, according to a 1996 Seattle Times report. Hemingway, who joined the company in 1985, became president and chief executive officer in 1991. In 2012, Hemingway became chairman after hiring Knud Stubkjaer as CEO.

Carrix is the parent of SSA Marine, which operates more than 250 port and rail locations in Panama, Chile, Mexico and Canada as well as U.S. cities including Oakland and Long Beach, California.

In 2019, Blackstone Infrastructure Partners acquired a roughly 20% stake in Carrix, which counts billionaire Fernando Chico Pardo as a board member and shareholder. The Smith and Hemingway families in 2014 repurchased a stake that had been held by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s infrastructure arm and others since 2007.

A spokesman for Carrix didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A representative for the Hemingway family had no immediate comment.

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