Royal Caribbean to Acquire Majority Stake in Silversea Cruises

Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, left, executive chairman of Silversea, shakes hands over the deal with Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of RCCL.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will pay $1 billion to acquire a 66.7 percent stake in Silversea Cruises, giving RCCL a stake in the luxury cruise market. The deal, expected to close later this summer, will result in four different brands for the cruise line: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and Silversea.

Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of RCCL, said in a statement released Wednesday, "Silversea is a crown jewel and the acknowledged leader in luxury and expedition cruising, two key markets that are poised for growth. Uniting our two companies presents an extraordinary opportunity to expand vacation options for guests and create revenue in strategic growth areas."

Silversea was founded in 1994 by the Lefebvre family of Monaco and is controlled by chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio; he will continue as executive chairman of Silversea, which will operate as an independent brand of RCCL. His company has five luxury ships, with two more on order; it also has four expedition vessels, giving Royal Caribbean access to yet another new market.

"I have always been kindred spirits with Richard, and we share a vision of offering excellence and leadership to our guests," Lefebvre said. "This new partnership gives Silversea the opportunity to accelerate the growth of the most successful luxury and expedition cruising brand in the world."

Royal Caribbean plans to finance the purchase through debt. The strategic rationale for the partnership includes driving long-term capacity growth in the booming luxury and expedition segments at a much larger scale than Silversea would achieve alone; diversifying RCCL's portfolio and increasing its expedition offerings by adding a premiere ultra-luxury brand; leveraging the global footprint of the combined companies to generate demand and increase vacation and destination options for their guests; and realizing significant synergies related to global market access, supply chain, purchasing power and other economies of scale.