HOUSTON, Sept. 27, PRNewswire -- Avista Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm, today announced it has invested $51 million in Blake Offshore, LLC ("Blake") to retire senior debt and finance remaining costs associated with the upgrade of two of Blake's drilling rigs. Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, Blake owns and operates a fleet of seven offshore units servicing the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas industry. Avista's investment is in the form of subordinated notes and Class B units that will participate in distributions in certain circumstances.
Blake's fleet consists of three jackup drilling rigs, three mobile offshore production units ("MOPUs") and one self propelled jackup workover liftboat. After completion of the upgrade of the two jackups, all of the Company's equipment will be working under contract in the Gulf of Mexico. Blake was founded in 2001 by Mike Blake, who has built several offshore marine service companies since 1985.
Steve Webster, Co-Managing Partner of Avista Capital Partners, said, "Increased international demand for jackup rigs has enticed drilling contractors to redeploy rigs from the Gulf of Mexico to international markets. This, together with rigs damaged during last year's hurricane season, has caused the number of marketed jackups in the Gulf of Mexico to decline. Our investment in Blake is an exciting opportunity to capitalize on this market trend as the remaining rigs in the Gulf of Mexico are expected to continue to benefit from higher utilization and record dayrates."
Mike Blake, President and CEO of Blake Offshore, said, "Avista Capital Partners has an enormous amount of experience and contacts within the energy sector. Having worked with Steve Webster at various times since 1994, we are thrilled to be partnering with Avista as we upgrade and deploy our fleet. With our remaining two rigs expected to complete shipyard work early in the fourth quarter, we are excited about the company's prospects in 2007 and beyond."
About Blake Offshore
Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, Blake Offshore owns and operates a fleet of seven offshore units servicing the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas industry. The Company's fleet consists of three jackup drilling rigs, three mobile offshore production units and one self-propelled jackup workover liftboat.
About Avista Capital Partners
Avista Capital Partners is a private equity firm with offices in New York, NY and Houston, TX. Founded in 2005, Avista's strategy is to make controlling or influential minority investments primarily in growth-oriented media, healthcare and energy companies. Through its team of seasoned investment professionals and industry experts, Avista seeks to partner with exceptional management teams to invest in and add value to well-positioned businesses. www.avistacap.com
Diana Postemsky, Kekst and Company, 212-521-4805
SOURCE: Avista Capital Partners