Has Regent Seven Seas Cruises Been Sold?

November 5, 2007

As the luxury cruise market becomes an increasingly attractive investment, rumors about which lines may be up for acquisition are becoming rampant in the cruise industry. The fact that Regent Seven Seas Cruises is ripe for just such an acquisition may be one of the worst-kept secrets. Now, the rumors seem closer to reality -- a report on cfo.com says that Apollo, a private equity firm based in Purchase, New York, won an auction to acquire Regent from Minneapolis-based Carlson Hospitality Worldwide, one of the travel industry's largest hospitality companies.

Apollo, which invests heavily in hotel organizations such as Wyndham International and Miraval (an upscale spa destination), made its first foray into the cruise arena when it acquired Oceania for $850 million in February of this year. Even more recently, it made a deal with Star Cruises to acquire half of NCL.

Regent was formed in 1992 as a result of the merger between two one-ship lines -- Radisson Cruises, which contributed Radisson Diamond, and Seven Seas Cruises, which operated Song of Flower (both vessels have since been retired from the fleet). Since then, the line has grown steadily, adding Paul Gauguin in 1997, Seven Seas Navigator in 1999, Seven Seas Mariner in 2001 and Seven Seas Voyager in 2003. The cruise line was known as Radisson Seven Seas Cruises before being re-branded last year as Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

While spokesman Brian Major didn't tell us whether Regent has or has not been sold, he did say, "I am not allowed to comment on that report," and that there's no official information about a sale or acquisition.

According to cfo.com, DVB Bank AG will assist in financing the transaction; CVC Global Capital and KSL Capital Partners are two other parties that were reportedly interested in this transaction.

We'll keep you posted.

--by Melissa Baldwin, Managing Editor