US private equity firm takes over at Princess Yachts

Plymouth based Princess Yachts is being taken over by a major American private equity firm.

New York based  KPS Capital Partners say the multi-million pound deal will take the business to the next level.

Princess Yachts is one of Devon’s largest employers and it sells its super yachts to clients across the world.

The company, which has over 3,000 staff, is planning to build a huge new factory the Freeport which is being launched in Plymouth later this year.

KPS Capital Partners has entered into an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in Princess Yachts and said the investment will accelerate the company’s growth plans.

Plymouth Freeport

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of next month.

The American investment firm has a global portfolio and currently has $14.4b worth of assets under its control.

Companies it has an stake in include Autokiniton, light vehicle manufacturer AM General, Briggs and Stratton engines, battery maker C&D Technologies, and plant-based foods business Primient.

Antony Sheriff, chief executive of Princess Yachts, 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 $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. Under KPS’ ownership, we will accelerate a range of growth and operational initiatives to build upon our long and successful history.”

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.”

The company was launched almost 60 years ago and became Princess Yachts International in 2001.

In June 2008 a 75 per cent stake in the business was sold to French businessman Bernard Arnault’s investment group, L Capital part of the LVHM Group.

The LVMH group includes over 60 international luxury brands, including: Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, De Beers, Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Krug.

Princess Yachts operates in 119 countries and employs over 3,200 people worldwide. Its shipyards in Plymouth cover a combined area of over one million square feet and employ around 3,000 people.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP acted as legal counsel to KPS.  Macquarie Capital and Latham & Watkins LLP served as financial advisor and legal counsel, respectively, to Princess Yachts.




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