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Norwegian’s billion dollar “sugar daddy”

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On August - 17 - 2007

Private equity group, Apollo Management, made a $1 billion cash equity investment in Norwegian Cruise Line Corporation (NCL). The investment, in the form of common stock alongside NCL’s existing sole shareholder, Star Cruises, is designed to strengthen NCL’s balance sheet and its continued growth, NCL said in a statement.‘To have an investment on this scale by one of the very top names in the private equity world is a huge vote of confidence in the new NCL we have created since Star Cruises became the owner in 2000,’ said NCL Corp. president and ceo Colin Veitch.

Steve Martinez, partner at Apollo Management, added, ‘We are very excited to be forming this partnership with Star Cruises and the existing management team of NCL.’ He said the investment will help NCL complete its transition into the youngest fleet in the cruise industry with its F3 concept ships, under construction at Aker Yards France.

‘We believe the NCL brand has significant growth potential over many years to come,’ Martinez said.

Apollo will name a majority of the NCL board, with certain consent rights retained by Malaysia-based Star Cruises, Ltd., which will retain 50 percent ownership.  Star Cruises had been NCL’s sole owner.  NCL said the new investment by Apollo Management will allow the line to grow as it vies with Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises.  The new investment will also be used to pay down debt and fund shipbuilding.

Apollo Management’s investments also include an $850 million stake in Oceania Cruises.

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