Until today, Royal Caribbean Group included Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Silversea, and Azamara. What should be made of the announcement that Azamara is being sold to a private equity firm? RCL is, of course, spinning this as “focusing on the growth of their core brands,” but it’s difficult to see how this is anything other than shedding costs in an industry that the only certainty is cruising will return at some point.
Royal Caribbean Group (NYSE: RCL) today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Azamara brand to Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm specializing in consumer, retail and distribution investments, in an all-cash carve-out transaction for $201 million, subject to certain adjustments and closing conditions. Sycamore Partners will acquire the entire Azamara brand, including its three-ship fleet and associated intellectual property. The transaction is subject to customary conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.Royal Caribbean Group
While I’m skeptical of the stated reason, and that Silversea is considered a core brand, selling Azamara is a smart move that allows Royal Caribbean some flexibility and puts Azamara in a portfolio where it will get some attention and love.
Royal Caribbean has promised to collaborate with the new ownership group and its leadership so guests currently booked on an Azamara cruise will not be impacted. Past guests and those who have yet to experience Azamara should book this high end and beautiful cruise line with full confidence.