Princess Yachts - Sold to private US equity firm

Princess 95′ PPI Pre-delivery Inspection undertaken by EMS

Plymouth-based Princess Yachts, Britain’s largest luxury boatbuilder, has been sold to a US-based private equity firm.

Princess was put up for sale in 2022 by private equity group L Catterton, who reportedly hired bankers at Macquarie to find a buyer.

In a statement issued this morning (14 February 2023), Princess confirms that KPS Capital Partners has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling equity interest in the business.

KPS is a New York-based private equity giant that makes controlling equity investments in manufacturing companies, in North America and Europe. The firm has approximately $14.4 billion of capital under management, as of September 2022.

In 2019, KPS acquired the fitness equipment business of Brunswick Corporation, including the Life Fitness brand, for $490 million in cash.

Existing shareholders will retain ownership in Princess, with the transaction expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023.

The moves come after the company announced expansion plans last year as part of the successful bid by Plymouth city council to create a freeport in the region. Princess says this new investment from KPS will ‘help support these plans and reinforce the unique national and international marine capabilities that reside in Plymouth and the wider South West region’.

The Princess business was founded in 1965, and distributes through a 50-strong global network. It had been backed by L Catterton and its predecessor entity since 2008.

Ryan Harrison, a partner of KPS Mid-Cap Investments, says: “We are excited to make this significant investment in Princes Yachts, a leading company in the luxury global yachting industry with an iconic brand grounded in British tradition, a remarkable and growing product range, and world-wide reputation for quality and innovation.

“KPS’ investment will accelerate Princess’ growth trajectory and fund numerous investments for its future. We look forward to working with Princess’ existing stockholders, chief executive officer, Antony Sheriff, the senior leadership team, and the talented employee base at Princess Yachts.”

Antony Sheriff, Princess Yachts‘ chief executive, adds: “We are thrilled to partner with KPS for this exciting new chapter for Princess Yachts. KPS and the Princess Yachts team are deeply committed to investing in the company’s future while continuing to further strengthen our portfolio of best-in-class motor yachts. With a current order book nearing a record $1 billion and many model lines sold into 2025, we have never been in a stronger commercial position.

“Together with KPS’ tremendous track record of manufacturing excellence and investing in leading brands, we are now positioned to take Princess Yachts to the next level of industry leadership in quality and innovation. Under KPS’ ownership, we will accelerate a range of growth and operational initiatives to build upon our long and successful history.”

Acknowledgement to Marine Industry News

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