Merrill-Stevens expanding again

MIAMI - Since its new owners, Hugh and Carole Westbrook, purchased the company in December 2004, Merrill-Stevens Dry Dock Co. has been on the expansion track. Thus it comes as no big surprise that the company now intends to acquire the international yacht brokerage firm Koch, Newton & Partners (KN&P).

The two companies have reached an agreement and expect to complete the acquisition in early January at the latest, Merrill-Stevens reported in a recent statement.

Founded in 1990, KN&P has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Palma de Mallorca, Spain and Singapore and focuses on the sale and charter of mega yachts over 65.6 feet in length.

“This is a perfect marriage for Merrill-Stevens,” said Fred Kirtland, CEO of Merrill-Stevens. “It is our most dramatic acquisition. It will give Merrill-Stevens the ability to fully service the yachting industry in Europe and around the world.”

“Koch Newton's specialty in the sale, acquisition, and charter of quality motor yachts played a key role in our decision to acquire KN&P,” said Whit Kirtland, president, Merrill-Stevens Yacht Sales Division. “The yacht sales industry has experienced more than 30 percent growth in the past few years and is expected to grow another 20-25 percent in the next couple of years. This merger will position the company to take full advantage of that market growth.”

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