Princess Yachts has been taken over by American private equity firm KPS Capital Partners
KPS Capital Partners has entered into an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in Princess Yachts (Holdings) Ltd, and said the investment will see existing shareholders retain ownership in the company. Completion of the transaction is expected in the first quarter of 2023 and is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals.
The manufacturer of luxury motor yachts Princess Yachts, based in Plymouth, Devon, was founded in 1965, and its shipyards cover an area of more than 1.1 million sq ft. It employs 3,200 staff in Plymouth and exports to more than 100 countries.
Antony Sheriff, Chief Executive of Princess Yachts, said the deal will enable the firm, the UK’s largest manufacturer of luxury yachts, to expand and launch new models. He said:
“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 US$1bn 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.”
KPS Capital Partners runs a family of investment funds with more than US$14.4bn of assets under management. For more than 30 years it has been acquiring manufacturing businesses and its current portfolio includes component maker Autokiniton, light vehicle manufacturer AM General, Briggs and Stratton engines, battery maker C&D Technologies, and plant-based foods business Primient.
KPS’ portfolio of companies already generates total annual revenues of about US$22bn, operates 232 manufacturing facilities in 27 countries and combined has about 53,000 employees. KPS said it creates value “almost exclusively through operational and performance improvement”.
Ryan Harrison, a partner of KPS Mid-Cap Investments, said:
“We are excited to make this significant investment in Princess 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 Antony Sheriff, the senior leadership team, and the talented employee base at Princess Yachts.”
Princess has been owned by L Catterton, a consumer goods-focused investment firm, since 2008 and also the US marine retail chain, West Marine. LVMH luxury group and Groupe Arnault – owned by French billionaire Bernard Arnault – are both shareholders in the L Catterton business.
Last year L Catterton hired bankers at Macquarie to find a buyer for Princess Yachts.
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal counsel to KPS. Macquarie Capital and Latham & Watkins LLP served as financial adviser and legal counsel, respectively, to Princess Yachts.
“Under KPS’ ownership, we will accelerate a range of growth and operational initiatives to build upon our long and successful history.”