Apollo Management Acquires Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent Seven Seas will be placed under the
ownership of Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc.
Minneapolis-based Carlson and Apollo Management L.P. (Apollo) has agreed to acquire Carlson’s Regent Seven Seas Cruises operations. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2008, subject to conditions that include regulatory approval. The cruise operations will continue as a key part of the global Regent brand.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises will be placed under the ownership of Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc. (PCH), along with Oceania Cruises. PCH is a corporation controlled by Apollo which will manage certain cruise portfolio assets of Apollo.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises will remain a wholly independent brand under the guidance of Mark Conroy, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and will continue to operate from its Fort Lauderdale, Fla., headquarters. Oceania Cruises will remain in its Miami headquarters, headed by Bob Binder, president of Oceania Cruises. Both Binder and Conroy will report directly to Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings.
The transaction is part of a unified strategy by Apollo and Carlson to expand their respective core cruise and hotel operations, and become the world’s preeminent operators of luxury hotels, resorts and cruises. Carlson will retain ownership of the master Regent brand, along with the worldwide operations of Regent Hotels & Resorts.
Apollo’s acquisition of Regent Seven Seas Cruises enhances its position in the cruise industry with the addition of an award-winning luxury cruise brand to its cruise portfolio. Regent Seven Seas Cruises will continue to focus on the luxury segment of the marketplace.
Founded in 1990, Apollo is a leading private equity and capital markets investor. The firm has offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Singapore, Frankfurt and Paris. Since its inception, Apollo has managed more than $28 billion of capital across a wide variety of industries, both domestically and internationally. Investments in the leisure and hospitality industries have included Harrah’s Entertainment (pending), AMC Entertainment, Sirius Satellite Radio, Wyndham International and Vail Resorts. Apollo is already active in the cruise industry, having invested in the Oceania Cruises brand earlier this year, and is scheduled to shortly close on a committed investment in NCL Corporation Ltd (NCL), parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line and NCL America.
DOC Signs Tourism Agreement with China
The Department of Commerce has announced that a memorandum of understanding has been signed between the U.S. and China that will bring Chinese leisure travelers to the United States and permit U.S. destinations to market themselves in China.
As part of the agreement, U.S. companies can now do business with Chinese travel companies to organize and market travel packages for group leisure travel to the U.S. The National Tour Association (NTA) has submitted a proposal to the Department of Commerce that would create a program to ensure that U.S. tour operators provide quality experiences for Chinese group visitors.
“NTA is well positioned to assist U.S. travel companies in arranging Chinese leisure group travel and is ready to work with industry professionals in both countries,” said NTA chairman and CEO Bob Hoelscher.
Previously, Chinese regulations prevented companies from organizing and marketing packaged tours for leisure purposes to countries that did not have Approved Destination Status agreements.
New Features on ASTA Web Site
ASTA has recently added RSS feeds and the association’s Industry Calendar of Events to their new Web site, ASTA.org. Updating members with news and events in more ways will allow agents’ businesses to grow and broaden their knowledge of the industry. These new features will allow members to keep in touch with the industry more easily and receive news faster.
“With the new Web site we have enhanced features that are expanding how we communicate and work together as an association,” said Cheryl Hudak, ASTA’s president and CEO. “Technology is growing and we are growing with it, to use it to our advantage. These new features will strengthen our business relationships through communications.”