Royal Caribbean Group has agreed a deal to sell its Azamara brand to Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm.
Sycamore Partners will acquire the three-ship fleet and associated intellectual property. The deal, which is subject to customary conditions, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.
The move will allow Royal Caribbean Group to focus its efforts on Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea, “to grow them as we emerge from this unprecedented period”, said the group’s chairman and CEO, Richard Fain.
Azamara chief operating officer Carol Cabezas has been appointed president of the brand.
A statement said that Azamara’s value proposition and operations will remain consistent under the new arrangement, and that the group “will work in close collaboration on a seamless transition for Azamara employees, customers and other stakeholders”.
The transaction will result in a one-time, non-cash impairment charge of approximately $170 million, it added, and is not expected to have a material impact on Royal Caribbean Group’s future financial results.
Fain said: “Our strategy has evolved into placing more of our resources behind three global brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea, and working to grow them as we emerge from this unprecedented period.
“Even so, Azamara remains a strong brand with its own tremendous potential for growth, and Sycamore’s track record demonstrates that they will be good stewards of what the team has built over the past 13 years.”
Sycamore Partners managing director Stefan Kaluzny added: “We are pleased that Royal Caribbean Group has entrusted Sycamore to support Azamara in its next phase of growth.
“We are excited to partner with the Azamara team and build on their many years of success serving the brand’s loyal customers. We believe Azamara will remain a top choice for discerning travellers as the cruising industry recovers over time.”