In a surprising move this morning, Royal Caribbean Group announced it had reached an agreement to sell luxury cruise brand Azamara to Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm with holdings in a number of consumer, retail and distribution investments. The $201 million sale is still pending final adjustments and conditions, but it’s looking like a done deal.
Sycamore Partners will take control of the Azamara brand, including the three ships in the fleet and all intellectual property. The firm’s portfolio includes a number of well-known retail brands such as Stapes, Coldwater Creek, Aeropostale, Talbots and Nine West.
Richard D. Fain, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Caribbean Group, cited a renewed focus on the group’s other brands as a primary reason for the sale.
“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 Fain. “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.”
Stefan Kaluzny, Managing Director of Sycamore Partners, echoed the strength of the brand and cited their loyal following.
“We are pleased that Royal Caribbean Group has entrusted Sycamore to support Azamara in its next phase of growth,” said Kaluzny. “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.”
Details of the transition include Azamara Chief Operating Officer Carol Cabezas being appointed the new President of the brand. The press release also stated that “Azamara’s value proposition and operations will remain consistent under the new arrangement.”
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