top of page

Sunseeker Yachts Sold to Lionheart Capital, Owners of Cigarette Racing Team

Sunseeker Predator 74 XPS
The Sunseeker Predator 74 XPS

A small but significant detail has emerged in the sale of Sunseeker Yachts.

Bloomberg first reported that renowned yacht builder Sunseeker, which is owned by the Chinese-based Dalian Wanda Group, was being sold to Miami, Florida-based investment firm Lionheart Capital.

According to Bloomberg, both parties have signed a so-called "sale and purchase agreement," although details of the sale are not yet public. The completion of the sale is also subject to regulatory approval from the British government. Sunseeker is based in Poole Harbour in Dorset, England.

What's of note is that Lionheart Capital purchased Cigarette Racing Team in May of 2021, marking a significant turn of events for one of boating's most iconic and revered brands. The purchase was led by Miami entrepreneur John H. Ruiz in partnership with Lionheart Capital. Cigarette Racing was founded in 1969 by the legendary Don Aronow.

Shortly after the acquisition in 2021, Cigarette made several notable announcements, including plans for a 130-foot superyacht and a line of electric PWC's. They also launched the well-received 52 Thunder under new CEO Alex Ruiz, son of John Ruiz.

At the time, the elder Ruiz told Robb Report that the new superyacht “...will have a European look, with fine, elegant lines. I think people will be ready for a Cigarette superyacht. They want style and performance in one yacht, and we can do that.”

Now it appears those plans are coming to fruition as Lionheart will add one of yachting's most prestigious brands to its growing portfolio. Sunseeker was founded in 1969 by brothers Robert and John Braithwaite and has since become a global leader in luxury yacht manufacturing. The company is currently led by CEO Andrea Frabetti.

Sunseeker yachts is perhaps best-known outside the boating world for the use of their boats in James Bond films including Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Die Another Day.

The Dalian Wanda Group acquired a 92% stake in the brand in mid-2013 for an estimated ₤320 million, or roughly $493 million USD. Dalian rose to prominence as an issuer of high-quality junk bonds in commercial real estate, although the conglomerate came under pressure from the Chinese government after their borrowing costs surged.

With the acquisition by Lionheart, the firm will now add another boating brand to its growing US-based portfolio. Lionheart also owns several U.S restaurant chains, as well as hotels and multiple retail and commercial properties.

While there has been no announcement yet regarding any U.S. plans for Sunseeker and its vast inventory of models, one can rightly expect that to come to fruition in the near future.

Sunseeker has been one of yachting's most consistent brands in recent years, having launched 5 new models in 2021 alone, and has consistently maintained a full order book for commissioned builds. #news #products #cigaretteracing #sunseeker

919 views0 comments


bottom of page