“We have been robbed of our company, and we have been paid with monopoly money”

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Sealab founder Milan Markovic said he believes he is a victim of a hostile takeover.

In August, it was announced that the holding company Bluegrove is buying up Norwegian aqua tech start-up Sealab. Sealab’s underwater light and camera technology will be merged with the acoustic sensory system developed by another Norwegian Bluegrove subsidiary CageEye, according to a press release on the 31st of August.

SalmonBusiness’ sister publication Ilaks already hinted in July that there could be talk of an acquisition of Sealab. This after four out of five board members of Sealab had resigned from the board of the company, including founders Milan Markovic and son Oscar Markovic.

In July, Milan Markovic was not particularly talkable about the situation that had arisen, but now he is going hard in Finansavisen and believes he has fallen victim to a hostile takeover. The acquisition of Sealab is said to have been carried out by consideration in the Group, and according to Markovic this was the consideration in the form of shares in CageEye/Bluegrove.

Markovic claimed to the publication that the pricing of Bluegrove in the transaction was EUR 190 million, while Sealab was priced at EUR 10 million. The Markovic family holds around 40 per-cent of the shares in Sealab Ocean Group, which owns Sealab. That means, according to the newspaper, that they are sitting with 2-3 per-cent of the shares in Bluegrove.

“We have been robbed of our company, and we have been paid with monopoly money. And soon we will lose them too because we are not able to meet the conditions of our counterpart,” Markovic believes.

Markovic also accuses former Sealab Ocean Group CEO Morten Sjoner Syrstad of for enforcing an artificial insolvency situation so that the sale of Sealab could be carried out. He will therefore sue Sjoner Syrstad.

Morten Sjoner Syrstad replied that it is the board of the start up, together with the CEO Oscar Markovic of Sealab, who has been responsible for the finances. He referred to the chairman and lawyer Ståle Spjøtvoll, who in turn refers to Bluegrove boss Bendik Søvegjarto.

Bendik S. Søvegjarto, CEO Bluegrove. PHOTO: Andreas Witzøe

Søvegjarto claims that both customers and employees of Sealab are very pleased that Bluegrove is coming in with new powers and cleaning up the company. When asked by Finansavisen if the transaction with CageEye and Bluegrove has been possible as a result of an artificial insolvency involvement situation, Søvegjarto replied:

“This is not a case involving Bluegrove. We offered a price that the seller agreed to. The board of Sealab Ocean Group, which has been chosen by shareholders, welcomed our offer as they saw it as an opportunity for Sealab to survive.”

Next Read: Spectacular valuation as Bluegrove acquired aqua tech start-up Sealab