Private Equity Firm Acquires Oceania Cruises, Brand Retains Independence

New York-based private equity firm Apollo Management L.P. acquired Oceania Cruises on Monday in a transaction valued at approximately $850 million. The upper-premium cruise brand will remain independent and all of the line's management was retained. The acquisition should be a boon for Oceania as it looks to become more competitive. Although the cruise line has a following, it needed an injection of capital to grow—Apollo's vast financial resources (upwards of $12 billion in new capital) don't hurt. "To say we are elated would be an understatement," Tim Rubacky, Oceania Cruises' director of corporate communications, told Travel Agent on Monday. So does this deal translate into expansion for the three-fleet line? "Absolutely," replied Rubacky. "Our growth intentions have been the worst-kept secret in the industry. Now, with a tremendous partner and with the financial resources they have, it allows us to go shoulder to shoulder with the largest lines in the industry." Though Rubacky said the company was not actively for sale, Apollo found the cruise line very enticing and "when they see a brand they want to acquire, they acquire it." Rubacky hinted that Apollo's other holdings could create synergies for Oceania. The announcement, expected to close in the second quarter, is the second announced acquisition of a cruise brand in a week. Last Thursday, Carnival Corp. sold its Windstar arm to Ambassadors International for $100 million.

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