Ambassadors sells Delta Queen, other assets

Ambassadors International Inc., wrapped up its bankruptcy case last week by selling its assets — including the riverboat Delta Queen — to TAC Cruise, an affiliate of Xanterra Holding Corp, which runs concessions and activities at national and state parks.

The court approved a $39 million cash offer by TAC over an earlier bid by Whippoorwill Associates Inc., White Plains, N.Y., a private investment firm with a 22 percent stake in Seattle-based Ambassadors. Whippoorwill had agreed to provide $10 million in new financing under a debtor-in-possession credit arrangement.

The sale, which is expected to close before Memorial Day, includes the Delta Queen and Columbia Queen, both assets of Ambassadors money-losing Majestic America Line brand. It also includes Windstar Cruises, which will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Xanterra, based in Greenwood Village, Colo. Xanterra and TAC are owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz.

A Xanterra spokesman said she could not elaborate about the future of the Majestic vessels. The Delta Queen is leased under a bareboat charter as a hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Columbia Queen, which is in Portland, Ore., was pledged as collateral with a credit card processor, according to regulatory filings. Ambassadors had both on the market.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts operates lodges, restaurants and activities at a number of national parks including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain, as well as at Mount Rushmore National Memorial and eight Ohio state park lodges.

The Maritime Administration is trying to sell two other Majestic vessels, the American Queen and the Empress of the North. Ambassadors turned them back in to Marad, which paid bondholders nearly $68 million. The American Queen is under contract for $15.5 million to a company led by John Waggoner, CEO of HMS Global Maritime based in New Albany, Ind.

Marad was among the top five creditors in the bankruptcy filing, with nearly $14 million in judgment debts tied to Title XI financing for the American Queen. The court agreed to a request by Marad that it be allowed to pursue its claims against entities other than Ambassadors.

“It is expected that Ambassadors’ stockholders and holders of Ambassadors’ convertible notes will not receive any distribution following the sale and these securities will likely have little, if any, value following Ambassadors’ Chapter 11 proceeding,” the company said.


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