It is one is certainly an acquisition but may look like a merger because both parties (for now at least) will continue to operate under their own names. Fairplay (Fairplay, Schleppdampschiffs-Reederei Richard Borchard Gmbh) has purchased Bugsier ( Bugsier, Reederei-und Bergungs Gesellschaft mbH + Co KG).
The Hamburg "Tug Ballet" uses representatives of the local fleets.
Not as well known on the world stage as they once were, the companies are a strong presence in North Europe, and with more than 100 tugs at their joint disposal, can be expected to grow and strengthen.
Their company histories are well known, so I will not repeat them here, but it is a sign of the times as both companies retreated from the world market over the years, they became smaller and smaller players. Now perhaps rejuvenated, we may see more of them outside of Europe.
Once operators of the largest tugs in the world, Bugsier has pulled back to smaller vessels.
Fairplay did their share of ocean towing. This Fairplay X towed two lakers (Charles M.White and Thomas F. Patton) from Quebec City to Karachi, Pakistan in about 100 days.
Bugsier and Fairplay have worked together in Hamburg for many years as members of the harbour tug pool, and co-operate on ETV operation. They operate a variety of modern tugs, in addition to the older ballet tugs pictured above.