Norwegian Cruise Lines to Acquire Prestige Cruises for $3 Billion

Mike Schuler
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September 2, 2014

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ “Seven Seas Mariner”. Photo courtesy RSSC

Norwegian Cruise Lines announced Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire Miami-based upper-premium and luxury cruise ship operator Prestige Cruises International for just over $3 billion.

Through its subsidiaries, Ocean Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Prestige Cruises owns and operates eight ships with approximately 6,500 berths. The total transaction consideration amounts to $3.025 billion and includes the assumption of debt. An additional contingent cash consideration of up to $50 million to Prestige shareholders would be payable based on certain 2015 performance metrics.

Ocean Cruises operates in the upper-premium cruise segment with five ships offering destination-oriented cruises to more than 330 ports around the globe. Regent Seven Seas Cruises, on the other hand, operates in the luxury cruise segment and includes three ships with fourth ship under construction with delivery expected for summer 2016.

“The acquisition of Prestige represents an extraordinary opportunity for Norwegian Cruise Line to expand our market presence by adding two established, award-winning brands in the upscale cruise segment with loyal followings,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Not only does this acquisition immediately enhance our financial performance, but it also deepens the bench of talent that we have been developing over the years.”

Sheehan added: “The combination of three distinct brands, each serving a different market segment, under one umbrella immediately creates an industry-leading cruise operator with an unmatched growth trajectory and a portfolio of products that allows us to appeal to guests at every stage of their life cycle.

“We are fully committed to retaining the brand propositions, guest experiences and cultures of the Norwegian, Oceania and Regent brands that have allowed each to realize such success,” Sheehan said.

Prestige Cruises International, Inc. was formed in 2007 to manage select assets in Apollo Management’s cruise investment portfolio. Frank Del Rio will remain chief executive officer of Prestige.

“We are excited to become part of the Norwegian family and start a new chapter for our company,” said Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige. “With Oceania and Regent, we have built iconic brands with distinctive product offerings and strong customer loyalty. The combination is very compelling and will allow us to further enhance our renowned guest experience. We are looking forward to joining the Norwegian team and building upon the success that our three brands have already achieved.”

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Norwegian Cruise Lines currently owns and operates 13 purpose-built cruise ships offering so-called “Freestyle Cruising”. The company also has four vessels on order at Meyer Werft for delivery in fall 2015, spring 2017, spring 2018 and fall 2019.

NCL recently took delivery of its most innovative ship to date, the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Getaway, which is homeported in Miami, in the first quarter 2014. The delivery followed the delivery of its sister ship, Norwegian Breakaway, in April 2013. Norwegian Breakaway is the largest vessel to homeport year-round in the city.

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