$780M public company relocates HQ to Smyrna

Middle Tennessee has quietly landed another public-company headquarters, although it’s not clear what the move might involve — or whether the company will be independent much longer.

Executives with Steel Connect — the holding company for global supply chain management firm ModusLink and marketing venture IWCO Direct Holdings — in recent weeks changed the address of their principal offices from a Boston suburb to the big ModusLink hub in Smyrna. That 240,000-square-foot building at 2000 Midway Lane (pictured) is part of the SouthPark Distribution Center and includes some office space.

It’s not clear, however, what the address change means in terms of executives and other home office personnel moving to Middle Tennessee from Massachusetts. Officials with Steel Connect did not respond this week to several requests for comment on the headquarters move.

Steel Connect’s businesses finished their most recent fiscal year with combined revenues of $782 million — about 57 percent of it from IWCO, which the company bought in late 2017 — but a pre-tax profit of just $633,000. Both subsidiaries are being run by CEOs who joined the company this year and who have had to deal with wide-ranging impacts of COVID.

Steel Connect shares (Ticker: STCN) have lost about two-thirds of their value in the past three years, and the company’s market capitalization is now only about $50 million. They may also soon be in the hands of Steel Partners Holdings, a holding company run by investor Warren Lichtenstein and itself publicly traded (Ticker: SPLP) with a market cap of more than $220 million.

Steel Partners Holdings first invested in what was then still ModusLink in early 2013 and controls about 56 percent of Steel Connect. It last month submitted an offer to buy the Steel Connect shares it doesn’t already own. The board of Steel Connect has formed a special committee of independent directors to consider the offer but has not set a timeline for a response.

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