Private Equity investor takes major stakes in maritime trainers

Paul Gunton

Paul Gunton · 14 May 2019

ShipInsight


Oakley Capital Investments has announce that it has partnered with the management teams of Herkules and KVH to take majority stakes in Seagull and Videotel respectively.

Over the past 40 years, Videotel and Seagull have established themselves as leading providers of e-learning to the maritime sector. Every year they each provide over 10,000 ships and installations with comprehensive and up-to-date compliance, risk and safety training that ensures adherence to IMO requirements. In 2018, the two companies collectively generated $50 million of revenue.

The digital transformation taking place in the shipping industry, as well as the increasingly complex regulatory framework, offers a significant opportunity for e-Learning providers. The management teams of Seagull and Videotel believe that this opportunity can be grasped most effectively by working together as a combined group. With both parties able to collaborate and share knowledge and resources, the two businesses will be able to provide their respective customers with a greater level of product and services.

Apart from an enhanced investment plan, there will be no immediate operational changes in either company except that Oscar Johansen, Chairman and Founder of Seagull, will take up the role of President of the combined group. Roger Ringstad and Raal Harris will continue to lead Seagull and Videotel, respectively.

The transactions continues Oakley’s successful track record of investing in the maritime and education sectors. Oakley previously invested in Headland Media, a provider of media and entertainment services to the offshore and shipping sectors, while its current investments include North Sails, the largest sail maker in the world; Inspired and several educational businesses.

The acquisition of Videotel signed and completed simultaneously, whilst a gap of eight weeks was agreed between signing and completion of the acquisition of Seagull. Oakley’s indirect contribution through its interest in Fund IV is expected to be approximately £25 million.

Peter Dubens, Managing Partner of Oakley Capital commented, “We are delighted to be partnering with the management teams of Seagull and Videotel, two companies we have admired for many years. Both teams are exactly the type of highly ambitious professionals we continually seek to back. We look forward to supporting them in their plans to invest in new content and technology solutions based on the wealth of internal expertise which can now be shared across the group.”

Roger Ringstad, Managing Director of Seagull said, “As the shipping industry continues to make advancements in digitalisation, we see significant opportunities to further enhance the breadth and depth of products and services we offer our clients. In Videotel and Oakley we believe that we have the perfect partners to support us on that journey.”

Raal Harris, Managing Director of Videotel commented, “This is a historic moment in the history of maritime e-learning. In combining our expertise and sharing the additional resources that an ambitious and forward-thinking company like Oakley can provide, we will be able to meet the needs of our customers in ways never previously possible. We are confident that Oakley has assembled a team of unrivalled quality to take our companies forward and are excited about what the future holds.”

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