Britain's largest yacht manufacturer has been purchased by a U.S. private equity firm.
Princess Yachts, who have been a figurehead in Plymouth, England since their launch in 1965, was made available for purchase by private equity group L Catterton in 2022, who purchased the brand in 2008, and have now been acquired by U.S. based KPS Capital Partners.
The deal will provide KPS with a controlling interest in the company once the agreement is finalized in the first quarter of 2023. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In a press release, 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 worldwide 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," he added.
Antony Sheriff, Chief Executive Officer of Princess Yachts, also stated, "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."
KPS is based in New York and has an extensive portfolio in manufacturing assets across North America and Europe. The firm currently holds approximately $14.4 billion of capital under their management.
This is not KPS' first foray into marine acquisitions, although their first purchase was only tangential. In 2019, KPS purchased the fitness equipment business owned by Brunswick Corporation, who are the marine industry's largest conglomerate and own such brands as Mercury Marine and Sea Ray, for $490 million. KPS also holds stakes in Briggs & Stratton, the world's largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor equipment, and Autokiniton Global Group, a major automotive parts supplier.
Princess Yachts, meanwhile, is currently holding a flush order book of over $1.1 billion and recently unveiled a new flagship model - the Princess Y95. The company experienced record sales over the last two years, taking over 300 orders in 2021 alone and requiring the company to expand manufacturing capability at their shipyard. They currently employ over 3200 people across five different manufacturing facilities around Plymouth, England.