1. Business

Day before bank loan due, Odyssey Marine sells part of business for $21 million

A full-size model of Odyssey Marine Exploration’s remotely operated vehicle is prepared for display near the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. A firm called Monaco Financial has purchased part of Odyssey’s business for $21 million. 
Published Dec. 17, 2015

Deep-sea treasure hunter Odyssey Marine Exploration went searching for riches of personal importance — and found it.

One day before $11.7 million in bank debt was due, the struggling Tampa company on Wednesday announced a financial bailout deal that gives it more stability and the possibility to rebound.

Odyssey said it sold a chunk of its business for $21 million to a firm called Monaco Financial. The deal means Odyssey will keep a 21.25 percent stake in any future proceeds from shipwreck projects, but the sale includes half of Odyssey's interest in Neptune Minerals — a business that seeks to mine underwater mineral deposits — and the building in Tampa where Odyssey executives operate. The bank debt due this week has now been retired.

"This agreement allows Odyssey to immediately monetize shipwreck assets, continue to perform world-class, deep-ocean shipwreck search, archaeology and recovery, and to retain upside potential from the assets we've created over the past 20 years," Odyssey CEO Mark Gordon said in a statement.

In a teleconference with analysts, Gordon said Odyssey's main focus will be to build its business of finding mineral deposits on the floor of the ocean. Searching for and salvaging shipwrecks will remain part of the mix, but less of a focus. The Odyssey CEO said an underseas find of phosphate, known as the Don Diego deposit off Mexico's coast, is a key business venture.

"Mineral deposits can be worth many multiples of shipwrecks," he said.

The company, whose business history is littered with dramatic shipwreck finds but also years of financial losses, has been seeking new injections of capital for some time.

Publicly traded Odyssey has watched its stock price drop dramatically in recent years. Shares dropped 14 months ago below $1 and recently hovered near 25 cents.

Odyssey shares closed up sharply Wednesday, rising 18 percent to 33 cents.

Will this deal be enough to float Odyssey's future? Keep the lifeboats handy.

Contact Robert Trigaux at Follow @venturetampabay.


  1. Apollo Global Management has offered $130 per share for Tech Data's stock in an acquisition worth $5.4 billion. If regulators shareholders approve, the home-grown company will remain based in Pinellas County, where it employs 2,000 of its 14,000 workers. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Private equity firms like Apollo create wealth for pension funds, financial institutions and individual investors by buying assets that typically are sold later at a profit.
  2. Some of Tampa Bay's largest companies are being sold or are up for sale. Times files and Bloomin' Brands
    Tech Data is just the latest in a growing list of public companies bought up by out-of-state firms.
  3. Hillsborough Community College solicited "non-binding letters of interest or intent” last month from developers interested in purchasing the Dr. Gwendolyn W. Stephenson District Administration Center on Davis Islands. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Developers have eyed the 3.7 acre waterfront parcel for years, but recent interest has prompted the college’s trustees to finally start the conversation.
  4. Tampa International Airport looking north. The Wall Street Journal ranked it the best midsize airport in America. [Times files]
    TPA took first place in the Wall Street Journal’s annual survey of U.S. airports.
  5. Tech Data's CEO Rich Hume (left) shares a moment with former CEO Bob Dutkowsky during a send off celebration for Dutkowsky earlier this year. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
    A private equity firm has agreed to buy Tech Data.
  6. Joseph Erickson, 53, looks out the window at the gulf-[front condo he thought he won at a foreclosure auction last year.t JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |  Times
    "There have been serious allegations,'' Judge Keith Meyer said.
  7. Sam's Club fulfillment center manager Nick Barbieri explains to a shopper how the new Scan & Go shop works at 5135 S Dale Mabry Highway. SARA DINATALE  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Shoppers in Tampa Bay can now skip the line and cash out alcohol on their own phones.
  8. Which cars hold their value best in Tampa Bay? Pictured is traffic in Tampa Bay in 2017. [Times file photo] ELLIOTT, LOREN  |  Elliott, Loren
    For the top spots, think big and rugged.
  9. A rendering of the planned Pinstripes bowling, bocce and bistro space that is planned to open at International Plaza alongside a Cinemex in spring 2021. Pinstripes
    In addition to upscale bowling and movies, there will also be bocce ball and a bistro.
  10. Tech Data's headquarters in Largo. TD AGENCY  |  Courtesy of Tech Data
    The company is being sold to a private equity firm.