French Billionaire Near Deal to Buy Luxury Ship Operator Ponant

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July 22, 2015

Ponant’s Le Ponant , a 64-passenger luxury sailing yacht. Photo: Ponant

By Francois de Beaupuy, Kiel Porter and Andrew Roberts

(Bloomberg) — Artemis SA, the holding company of France’s billionaire Pinault family, is in advanced talks to buy luxury cruise-ship operator Ponant from buyout firm Bridgepoint, according to people familiar with the situation.

The talks between Artemis and Bridgepoint are exclusive, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. Ponant may have an equity value of about 400 million euros ($438 million) and a deal could be announced by the end of this month, said another person.

A deal would hand Francois Pinault and his family another luxury lifestyle company, adding to assets such as auction house Christie’s and Bordeaux first-growth wine estate Chateau Latour. Artemis also controls Kering SA with its fashion brands such as Gucci and Saint Laurent. Pinault’s son, Francois-Henri, is chairman of Artemis and Kering.

Bridgepoint acquired Ponant from French shipping group CMA CGM in 2012 for an undisclosed amount. The yacht operator had 120 million euros in revenue last year, according to its website. Founded in 1988, Ponant operates a fleet of yachts that carried 23,000 passengers last year.

Representatives for Artemis and Bridgepoint declined to comment on a potential deal when contacted by Bloomberg.

©2015 Bloomberg News

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