Royal Caribbean Group on Tuesday announced that it has signed an agreement to sell Azamara, its small luxury brand of cruise ships, to Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm, for $201 million. Sycamore Partners will acquire the entire Azamara brand, including its three-ship fleet and associated intellectual property.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.
Sycamore Partners is a private equity firm based in New York that specializes in consumer, distribution and retail-related investments and currently has about $10 billion in aggregate committed capital.
Royal Caribbean says that the transaction allows it to focus on expanding its Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea brands.
“Our strategy has evolved into placing more of our resources behind three global brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea, and working to grow them as we emerge from this unprecedented period,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group.
“Even so, Azamara remains a strong brand with its own tremendous potential for growth, and Sycamore’s track record demonstrates that they will be good stewards of what the Azamara team has built over the past 13 years,” he added.
“We are pleased that Royal Caribbean Group has entrusted Sycamore to support Azamara in its next phase of growth,” said Stefan Kaluzny, Managing Director of Sycamore Partners. “We are excited to partner with the Azamara team and build on their many years of success serving the brand’s loyal customers. We believe Azamara will remain a top choice for discerning travelers as the cruising industry recovers over time.”
Azamara’s operations will remain consistent under the new arrangement, and Royal Caribbean Group will work in close collaboration on a seamless transition for Azamara employees, customers and other stakeholders. In conjunction with the transaction, Azamara Chief Operating Officer Carol Cabezas has been appointed President of the brand.
The transaction will result in a one-time, non-cash impairment charge of approximately $170 million. The sale of Azamara is not expected to have a material impact on Royal Caribbean Group’s future financial results.