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A complex financing arrangement will put majority control of one of Tampa Bay's most intriguing public companies in the hands of a Mexican mining company.

Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. (NASDAQ: OMEX), a Tampa-based pioneer in deep-ocean exploration, signed a funding deal with Minera del North S.A. de c.v., or Minosa.

Minosa will provide short-term debt financing to Odyssey of up to $14.75 million, and Penelope Mining, a Minosa subsidiary, has agreed to invest up to $101 million over three years in Odyssey's convertible preferred stock, a statement said.

The deal will give Penelope majority of the outstanding voting power of Odyssey, the statement said.

Odyssey will use the debt financing to continue ongoing operations, while the equity will help position the company to advance its business, Mark Gordon, president and CEO, said in the statement.

In connection with the agreement, Odyssey stockholders will be asked to approve a 1-for-6 reverse stock split, re-classify Odyssey's board of directors into three classes, and elect Minosa designees to a majority of positions on the classified board.

Odyssey is a relatively small company with $1.3 million in total revenue in 2014, down significantly from $23.7 million in revenue in 2013, according to its annual report, filed Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company hasn't turned a profit in at least five years, including in 2014 when its net loss was $26.5 million, or 31 cents a share. Its stock was the worst performer among companies headquartered in Tampa Bay in 2014.

Yet the company has captured peoples' imaginations if not their investment confidence.One recent project is the exploration for ingots and other gold from the site of the SS Central America, a ship that sank off the coast of South Carolina 157 years ago.

Original Article: http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2015/03/16/mexican-mining-firm-poised-to-take-control-of.html

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