A $5-billion bid by U.S. manufacturer Bass to buy an underwater-building firm that specializes in designing and building underwater vehicles could have serious implications for the underwater industry, according to the industry’s biggest players.
Bass’s proposal to buy Aqua Nova International, the company that builds underwater vehicles, could have significant ramifications for the aquatic vehicle industry and could ultimately result in a major reduction in the cost of the devices, said Mark Johnson, chief executive of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which represents companies that make underwater vehicles.
Bast has raised the bid, which is contingent on a deal closing by April 30.
Aqua Nova had been seeking $4.2 billion, and it had raised $1.9 billion in a previous bid by a different company.
Johnson said Aqua Nova’s underwater vehicles have been used in some of the world’s most challenging water environments, including on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, where BP oil spilled in 2010.
He said Aqua’s products have been designed to withstand conditions where an oil spill can occur.
Johnson, however, said Aqua has not been able to deliver on its promises of making underwater vehicles cheaper and more reliable.
Johnson said Aqua is a “disappearing technology” as the company struggles to find a buyer for its assets.
“The whole industry has been hit very hard by the cost and availability of underwater vehicles,” Johnson said.
“It’s a very tough market.
The market for underwater vehicles has collapsed.”
Bast, which has a market value of $15 billion, would have a 25 percent stake in Aqua Nova, while Aqua would own 50 percent, Johnson said, adding that Aqua would have the right to share Aqua’s financials and any assets it acquired.
Johnson did not specify the size of Aqua Nova.
Aqua is based in Miami, Fla.
Johnson noted that Aqua is already a big player in the underwater vehicle industry.
It built the first underwater vehicle, a Type III Deepwater Venture, in 2010, and the company has since built a fleet of underwater drones, which can reach speeds of about 8 knots.
Aqua also has a technology known as “paddleboard technology,” which is based on a device that uses an attached buoyancy device to control the buoyancy of a boat.
Johnson also noted that a number of companies are building and testing underwater vehicles and that Aqua Nova has been at the forefront of this technology.
Johnson added that Aqua has been an early leader in underwater vehicles technology and that it has developed a raft of products including a variety of underwater gear for the U.K. and a raft for commercial vessels.
The company has also been at odds with the industry over issues such as safety, Johnson added.
Johnson has previously said that Aqua’s technology has been “fantastic” but that it needs to be “more precise” and be more responsive to the demands of the deep-water environment.
Aqua has also faced challenges in the past when trying to develop and market its technology, including a lawsuit with the U