Your Company Getting Bought Out

For those of you who where they when your company got bought out, what were the signs? Is there anything you saw in hindsight that made if obvious, like not getting supplies, unfilled positions, etc?

I think watching a company that has 9 boats, then goes to 7, then 5, and finally at 4 should have made me start looking for work. I liked the job and kept my head in the sand. They told us the Wednesday before the final sailing on Friday that they were done.

When the new company has a general meeting to assure the employees that there will be no layoffs and everyone’s job is safe, you should worry. It means they want everybody to stand still while they figure out ways to cut payroll to increase profits and how many employees they need to get rid of to achieve that goal. You can expect bad news within a few months.


When your company hires a new CEO with no experience or knowledge of the industry the company is involved in.

The scrapping, decommissioning, held for sale of older assets is a good sign.

The no layoffs speech but read the investor presentation with an eye out for synergies, that’s a good indicator of looming layoffs.

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When I was a SeaLand (which at the time was a part of CSX) they split the company into 3 divisions, Jones Act, Terminals, and (US Flag) Foreign Built & Foreign Flag. We were told it was for “operating efficiencies”, but we knew it was BS. It wasn’t long before Mearsk bought the Terminal and Foreign Built & Foreign Flag operations. They later got rid of the Jones Act ships as well. CSX wanted to be a train company not an all encompassing intermodal company.
We also saw that money tended to flow in one direction (out) and very little reinvested in the ships.

If you start hearing the office start using terms like “recapitalization”, it can mean they are selling or mortgaging assets.

We’re they bought out or did they just go under?

And oh boy did they mortgage some assets. I’d heard a number that one of (probably more than one) the old Lancer’s was mortgaged for $250 million when it was actually worth a pittance in scrap. That was a couple years before Horizon folded. It sucks to see the parasites sucking the life out of a company and there is nothing you can do.

When the contractors won’t show up because the company hasn’t paid them from last time.


When a hedge fund or “venture capital” company buys into your employer you can bet they do not have the employees best interest in mind. They intend to mortgage the assets to the max, take the proceeds from the mortgage, pay themselves huge “management fees” and then bankrupt the company. Best to hedge your bets and venture your resume out to someone else when these guys show up.

They got an offer for 2 of the last 4 boats and said yes. Sold another for research. It was a family owned business. During the last 6 months one of the brothers got reinvolved. Really never knew all the particulars, but it was certainly a surprise to me 3 days into radar school after they had agreed to pay for all my schooling.

Wow, that sucks. Let me guess, they were going to reimburse you afterwards?

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After working for 40+ years one realizes that no matter how dedicated you may be at the end of the day to the people owning the business you are just an expense. You subtract from the profit of the company. The bigger the company the less your knowledge, dedication and worth as a human being is valued.They constantly look for temps or foreign nationals to replace higher paid workers. These companies dedication to you as a person ends on the accountant’s balance sheet. Remain dedicated to yourself, gain as much knowledge as you can, maintain your own integrity and honesty. Then you have something to offer to the highest bidder. Save your money and know that no one guarantees you a pay check so seek the best paying job that will have you. At the end of a few decades if you’re fortunate you will be able to retire comfortably.


In 1975, I was living in Colombia working from Central America to Brazil. Odeco bought us out for the rigs and sold the boats to 2 different companies. I was on my time off for my first born and finalizing my wife’s resident visa. I was in limbo for 6 weeks. When the smoke cleared and I finally got in touch with the Texas transition office, I was told I was still on the payroll. I had the option work for the new owner in Brazil but I’d have to negotiate the deal. They moved us back to the states for the new domestic owners. The insurance paid $300 for child birth and $1000 for cesarean section. (I made $1100 profit on my daughter’s birth} All of this was with no contract, just my bosses word. No such thing anymore.


When working for a fairly large Tug and Barge Company, I found one of the first “tells” is when they start requesting an updated inventory of all spare parts onboard. When you add to this how the number of “auditors / inspectors” coming onboard, I would start clearing my gear off.


Good guess

Hell, in some cases it can be a few hours…

The best tell there is.


Thank you. I came here to say this. Haven’t been working out here very long, but I’ve realized this already.

To all those that love to reminisce and wish for the good old days, screw that. Look forward, do whatever it takes to be number one and get paid.


When you start getting stores from other ships. Usually a sign of downsizing

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Stores from other ships use to happen all the time with Lykes Brothers back in the day. They weren’t downsizing at the time, just rotating ships in and out to get the subsidy money for as many ships as they could.