Textainer in Talks to Buy Container Leasing Firm Seaco

Deal Reportedly Would Be Valued at $5 Billion
Seaco containers
Seaco is one of the world’s largest lessors of containers used to transport goods around the globe by ship. (Seaco)

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Stonepeak-owned Textainer is in advanced talks to acquire container leasing firm Seaco from an arm of failed Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Textainer has pulled ahead of rival bidders for Seaco, which is owned by Shenzhen-listed Bohai Leasing Co., the people said. A transaction could value Seaco at around $5 billion including debt, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

A sale of Seaco would extend a push by Chinese companies to shed assets they snapped up during a wave of foreign acquisitions several years ago. Tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and billionaire Guo Guangchang’s conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. have also been slowing their overseas expansion and focusing more on their home market.

Bloomberg News reported in February that Seaco’s owner was kicking off a sale of the business. Bohai Leasing has also been reviewing other divestments, including the potential sale of a stake in aircraft leasing firm Avolon, after struggling to refinance some of its debt, people with knowledge of the matter said late last year.

Seaco, founded in 1965, is one of the world’s largest lessors of containers used to transport goods around the globe by ship. It offers dry freight, refrigerated, specialized and tank containers, according to its website.

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No final agreements have been reached, and it’s possible that talks could collapse or another suitor could clinch a deal. Textainer referred queries to a spokesperson for Stonepeak, who declined to comment. A representative for Seaco didn’t have any immediate comment, while Bohai Leasing didn’t immediately answer an email and phone call seeking comment outside regular business hours in China.

New York-based Stonepeak specializes in investing in infrastructure and other real assets, and had about $65 billion under management at the end of last year, according to its website. It completed its acquisition of Textainer, a major lessor of intermodal containers, in March after agreeing to buy it for $7.4 billion including debt.

Seaco was previously a joint venture between General Electric Capital Corp. and Sea Containers Ltd. before being bought by HNA in 2011. In 2015, HNA acquired control of rival container lessor Cronos Ltd. and combined its business with Seaco.

Written by Kiel Porter, Gillian Tan and Manuel Baigorri