Mark Sellers, Managing Member of Sellers Capital, LLC, which owns 16.3% of Premier Exhibitions (NASDAQ:PRXI), recently sent a letter to current shareholders, seeking support for a slate of four independent directors to fill vacancies on Premier's board.
Sellers, who currently serves on the board, believes that the company is not maximizing shareholder value, and squandering both capital and opportunity. Many shareholders, including yours truly, don't disagree.
You may recall Premier from previous posts. The company is probably most best known as the operator of the successful Bodies: The Exhibition, which features whole and partially dissected human bodies, preserved through a technique called "polymer preservation".
Premier is not without its share of controversy, as demonstrated last February on an episode of 20/20, in which the show questioned the source of the bodies used in the exhibitions. While Premier claims to lease the bodies(all said to have died of natural causes)from a Chinese university, 20/20 suggested among other things that some may have been prisoners, and not all died of natural causes. This caused a firestorm of sorts, and sent shares plunging. The company denied these claims, but there was political fallout.
Perhaps more interesting, is Premier's operation of the traveling Titanic exhibits, and more specifically ownership of 3500 Titanic artifacts. The company is also the salvor in posession of the Titanic, with exclusive rights to recover artifacts from thw wreck site. While the Titanic ownership issue is still in the courts, the most recent rulings have been favorable to Premier.
It's no wonder that Sellers is pushing this fight, as Premier shares are down 86% year to date, and currently trade at $1.50. Currently profitable on a trailing 12 month basis, Premier trades at 11 times earnings, and has $9 million in cash and no debt.
For more on Sellers claims, read the Consent Solicitation Agreement dated 12/18/2008. It's an entertaining read, perhapas not so much if you've been a shareholder during this company's descent.
Disclosure: The author has a position in Premier Exhibitions (PRXI).