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Erik Prince sells company

By Laurie Bennett

December 17, 2010 at 10:42am

Blackwater founder Erik Prince has sold his company to a group of California investors.

The deal was announced Friday in a press release, which identified major investors as Forte Capital Advisers and Manhattan Partners.

Prince put the private security company up for sale in June and moved his family to Abu Dhabi. He has distanced himself from the firm, now called XE Services, in the wake of investigations into the 2007 killings of 17 Iraqis by Blackwater guards.

He resigned as CEO last year, but has continued as chairman. The sale follows the State Department’s threats to halt contracts with the company as long as Prince owned it.

Dealbook reported Thursday that the purchase deal called for Prince to have a continuing financial interest in the company, receiving payments based on performance.

However, the press release stated that Prince “will divest the entirety of his equity stake through the transaction and will not be involved in the management or operation of the company.”

Meanwhile, lawyers for XE appeared in federal court Thursday, seeking dismissal of a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of three people killed in the 2007 shootings. They argued that Blackwater guards shouldn’t be held responsible because they were acting as employees of the federal government.

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