Wednesday, July 18, 2007

PRXI Acquires Rights to Personal Property From Titanic

Premier Exhibitions announced today it has acquired Ownership Rights to the personal property on board the doomed ocean liner RMS Titanic from Liverpool and London Steamship Protection and Indemnity Association Limited (Liverpool and London).

The press release notes:

Liverpool and London was the insurer of the personal property on board the ship. By virtue of the settlements it reached with the Titanic passengers and their families soon after the tragedy, Liverpool and London acquired via subrogation ownership rights to the personal property, which remained on the vessel. With the acquisition of these rights, the Company now has the lawful claim to ownership.

By way of background, a subsidiary of PRXI has been recognized since 1994 as the salvor-in-possession. As such, PRXI has been able to display the artifacts, and display them for profit, but it has not been awarded title in the majority of the objects recovered. Through a series of court cases, PRXI has been recognized as owner of the approximately 1800 artifacts recovered in the initial 1987 expedition, but the remaining 3,700 recovered artifacts are subject to a claim for salvage. PRXI has previously submitted a claim for such salvage of $225 million.

By acquiring the insurers rights to subrogation, PRXI has strengthen its position in the residual value of the recovered artifacts, after satisfaction of the salvage claim. Further, it apparently will have claim over all remaining personal items to be recovered in future expeditions.

Continuing with the PRXI press release:

Admiralty and Maritime legal expert David Bederman, a professor at Emory University School of Law who also serves as maritime counsel to the Company, commented on the legal significance of this agreement: "the Company is now in a unique, although not unprecedented position with respect to a historic wreck. It now has duel roles -- that of Salvor-in-Possession of the wreck, and that as the de jure (by right) owner of the personal property from the wreck site. As it has for the past thirteen years, the Company continues to serve as the Salvor-in-possession, giving it exclusive rights to recover objects from the wreck. Now, as the owner of the subrogation rights to the personal property, the Company is well positioned in a legal sense to claim outright ownership to the personal property recovered from the wreck."

Arnie Geller, the Company's President and Chief Executive Officer, declared this acquisition to be "a dramatic moment in the history of the Company as it yields additional incentive to conduct further rescue archaeology of these important historic objects." He added, "since its first research and recovery expedition in 1987, the Company has proudly maintained it position as the Salvor and custodian of the priceless collection of objects recovered from the wreck of the Titanic. This new acquisition expands the Company's ability to increase its shareholder value."

We agree.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For the last few days, the directors and officers of PRXI has been disposing their stocks. What do you make out of their actions?