NCL has been fully owned by Malaysia/Hong Kong-based Star Cruises since 2000.
Apollo, as a result of this investment, will become half-owner of NCL and will name a majority of the cruise line's board of directors (though Star has retained some consent rights). The investment, in the form of common stock, aims to strengthen NCL's balance sheet and pave the way for additional expansion. NCL, which operates one of the youngest fleets in cruising, has on order a "next generation" series of ships, which it's calling the F3 concept. As well, Norwegian Gem, its latest new-build, will be delivered in October of this year.
"To have an investment on this scale by one of the very top names in the private equity world is a huge vote of confidence in the new NCL we have created since Star Cruises became the owner in 2000," said NCL Corporation's President and CEO Colin Veitch in a press release.
If Apollo Management's name sounds familiar in the cruise milieu that's because it is: The New York-based private equity and capital markets investor invested in Oceania Cruises earlier this year. However, Oceania is a separate investment and will not be merged into NCL.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor