In the world of private equity's exit — nicknamed Prexit — from shipping, another big shoe has stepped out the door.

GoldenTree Asset Management is walking away completely from its investment in New York-listed Eagle Bulk Shipping, according to a filing with US securities regulators at the close of trading on Wednesday.

GoldenTree sold its final 1.08m shares on Tuesday in a block trade at $48.50 per share, bringing in more than $53m.

Steven Tananbaum-led GoldenTree had held about 8.1% of the company, trailing only another private equity player, Oaktree Asset Management, as an Eagle shareholder.

GoldenTree has been in sell mode, having disposed of some 1.9m Eagle shares in July, in a deal underwritten by Morgan Stanley, at $46.50 each. The sale brought in more than $90m.

GoldenTree held about 22.6% of Eagle shares prior to the sell-off.

The overall exit of private equity from shipping bets, many of which spent years under water, has been viewed as a positive for the sector, as it removes a price "overhang" on the stocks and broadens the shareholder base while increasing trading liquidity.

Double-edged sword

However, Eagle Bulk chief executive Gary Vogel has pointed out that the process is a double-edged sword, as large private equity backers also have been a key source of support for such companies.

GoldenTree's relationship with Eagle is a good case in point. The finance firm acquired the 1.08m shares last December as it backstopped an overnight equity raise by the Stamford, Connecticut-based owner.

Eagle was seeking $25m. It got $5m from the public and nearly $20m from GoldenTree, which was able to acquire the stock at a bargain $18.10, down from $19.11 at the previous close.

GoldenTree thus acquired the shares for about $19.5m and sold them for $53m, turning a $33.5m profit in 11 months.

Founded in 2000, GoldenTree lists some $46bn in assets under management for institutional investors including public and corporate pensions, endowments, foundations, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds.

GoldenTree first entered Eagle as part of a group of distress-oriented investors who took part in a recapitalisation of the owner during a trough in the dry bulk market.

Dry bulk more recently has seen some its strongest rates since 2008, the peak of the last dry bulk boom cycle.

At last reporting, Oaktree still holds around 28.1% of Eagle stock, although it too has been gradually paring its position.