Former eBay, AOL execs buy into Maui Land & Pine
The private placement was the largest block of MLP shares to change hands since 1999
Maui Land & Pineapple Co., completing its first private placement in at least 24 years and possibly in its history, said yesterday it sold $15 million worth of newly created shares to companies controlled by former executives of eBay Inc. and America Online Inc.
Ohana Holdings LLC and ZG Ventures LLC purchased 517,242 shares at $29 a share, according to an announcement made after the close of trading yesterday.
MAUI LAND ATTRACTS EBAY FOUNDER
Maui Land & Pineapple Co. -- which has been revamping its pineapple, land and resort operations to improve earnings and position itself for the future -- said yesterday it has completed a $15 million private placement to companies controlled by former executives of eBay Inc. and America Online Inc.
It was the company's first private placement in at least 24 years, and possibly the only one in MLP's 37 years as a publicly traded company, according to corporate secretary Adele Sumida.
Ohana Holdings LLC and ZG Ventures LLC purchased 517,242 shares, according to an announcement made after the close of trading.
Ohana is controlled by Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay.
The managing member of ZG Ventures is Miles Gilburne, formerly senior vice president of corporate development of America Online.
MLP's stock, which has been hovering around its 52-week low of $29.45, fell 35 cents to $30.25 on the American Stock Exchange yesterday.
Net proceeds from the sale will be about $14.9 million after the payment of offering expenses, said MLP, which was founded in 1909 but didn't go public until 1969.
Ohana, which bought 344,828 shares worth about $10 million, is controlled by Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay and co-founder of Omidyar Network.
"Maui Land & Pineapple is a transformative company, emphasizing long-term planning and local self-reliance," Omidyar said. "I value their sound leadership and business practices, as well as their ethic of stewardship toward local communities."
The managing member of ZG Ventures is Miles Gilburne, formerly senior vice president of corporate development of America Online, and a board member of Time Warner Inc. from January 2001 through May 2006. ZG Ventures bought 172,414 shares worth about $5 million.
MLP's private placement represented the largest block of MLP shares to exchange hands since 1999 when Honolulu-born Steve Case, the founder of America Online, purchased just under 3 million MLP shares for about $40 million from foundations established by the late Honolulu financier Harry Weinberg and managed by the Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.
Case, whose stake at the time gave him 41.2 percent of the company, now owns 46 percent of MLP shares, according to his filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month.
MLP will receive the proceeds from the current private placement, whereas in the 1999 Case transaction the money went to the Weinberg foundations.
"We've been talking with these investors for a while and we're eager to expand our shareholder base with people who share the company's long-term vision," MLP spokeswoman Teri Freitas Gorman said.
MLP, counting the private placement and options recently exercised by chief executive David Cole, now has 8.15 million shares outstanding and a market cap of $246.5 million.
Last month, Cole, who's also the chairman and president of the company, exercised long-term options expiring in 2013 and purchased more than $1.3 million worth of stock, or 66,667 shares, at the price of $19.70.
Cole now owns 433,336 shares, or 5.6 percent of the company. Earlier in February, MLP's company's compensation committee approved a cash bonus of nearly $1.1 million to compensate Cole for the difference between the price of stock options when he entered his management contract in 2003 and the date he was employed later in that year.