November 26, 2002

St Pé involved in FGO acquisition
Friede Goldman Halter, Inc. says that the purchaser has completed financing arrangements in connection with the upcoming sale of FGH's Friede Goldman Offshore (FGO) division based in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

On November 15, FGH entered into a definitive contract to sell the assets of its offshore division to ACON Offshore Partners LP, a Delaware limited partnership and an affiliate of ACON Investments, in a transaction valued at approximately $61 million (USD).

The sale hearing will take place in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Southern Division, on December 16, 2002. Court approval is expected, with a year-end closing anticipated.

According to Tim Colton's, "it is understood that the CEO of ACON Offshore will be Nathan Avery, who is well known in the industry, having been Chairman and CEO of Galveston-Houston Company from 1977 until 2000, when it was sold to Komatsu.  It is also understood that this team was put together by Jerry St. Pé, former President of Ingalls Shipbuilding, and Dick Marlar, former VP, Business Development at Ingalls, and also a former President of FGO."

Reached by Marine Log, Jerry St. Pé confirmed he is connected with the venture but said it was "several weeks" too early to comment further.

So, who are ACON Investments?

Friede Goldman Halter says it "has been advised by ACON Investments that ACON is an international private equity investment firm, which manages investments in the United States, Europe and Latin America. ACON's partnerships typically include sophisticated institutional investors from the U.S., Europe and Latin America. Among its activities, ACON is affiliated with Texas Pacific Group (TPG). TPG manages over $5.7 billion worldwide. Friede Goldman Halter is further informed that ACON typically utilizes a thematic investment approach to identify investments at times of inflection points and that ACON's investment philosophy is to identify opportunities in industries with attractive dynamics and to pursue those opportunities in partnership with established management teams."

Managing partner of ACON Investments L.L.C. is Bernard Aronson, who was International Advisor to Goldman Sachs & Co. from 1993 to 1996.

He served as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs from 1989 to 1993, longer than any previous holder of that position. Aronson held several positions in the Jimmy Carter White House between 1977 and 1981, including Deputy Assistant and Executive Speechwriter to the President.

From 1984 to 1988 he served as President of The Policy Project, a Washington-based consulting firm from 1984 to 1988. He was Assistant to the President of the United Mineworkers of America International Union from 1972 to 1976. Mr. Aronson is a director of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Inc. and of Liz Claiborne, Inc. He also serves on the boards of directors of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and Freedom House International. He co-chairs the Task Force on U.S.-Cuban Relations in the 21st Century of the Council on Foreign Relations..

Texas Pacific, with which Acon is affiliated, is headed by David Bonderman, described by the New York Times as "a former civil rights lawyer with a reputation for fixing problem companies."

According to Hoover's Online, "Investment firm Texas Pacific Group (TPG) has staked its claim on the buyout frontier with a reputation for roping in companies other firms wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. TPG is an active investor, often taking control of the firms in which it invests. It profits not only from the rise in value of its holdings, but also from fund management. Like investor Warren Buffett, Bonderman's Texas Pacific Group invests in brands, buying and resuscitating consumer and luxe labels, as well as less-recognizable technology and telecommunication companies"

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