Norwegian Cruise Line Sails Into Luxury with Prestige Deal

Seven Seas Mariner luxury cruise ship with sailing boat behind at sunset, Portofino, Liguria, Italy
Stefano Politi Markovina/AlamyThe Seven Seas Mariner luxury cruise ship, a Prestige vessel, off the coast of Portofino, Liguria, Italy.
NEW YORK -- Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) is sailing into the luxury sector by buying the high-end Prestige Cruises International.

The deal will give Norwegian access to Prestige's eight ships on the Oceania and Regent Seven Seas cruise lines and its big-ticket vacation packages. Norwegian, which owns 13 ships, is known for its "Freestyle Cruising" that lets travelers choose where they want to eat and at what time.

Buying Prestige will help Norwegian be more competitive with its larger rivals: Carnival (CCL) owns luxury cruise lines Cunard and Princess, while Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) owns Celebrity Cruises.

Norwegian, which is based in Miami, values the cash-and-stock deal at $3.03 billion when debt is included. The company did not specify how much debt it would be taking on. Shareholders including private equity firm Apollo Global Management (APO), Prestige's majority owner, could get another $50 million in cash if certain performance targets are reached.

Apollo also owns about 20 percent of Norwegian, whose shares rose 11 percent Tuesday.

The two other big Norwegian shareholders, Genting Hong Kong and TPG Capital, have already signed off on the deal. It's expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Shares of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. added $3.68 to close at $36.99 Tuesday afternoon.

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September 03 2014 at 4:46 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Norwegian Cruises are also known for faulty equipment and lackadaisical service. Hopefully this will NOT trickle down to the acquired lines, which are known for both reliability and outstanding service. Those of us who have been fans of the acquired lines are waiting to see what happens.

September 02 2014 at 9:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply