Carnival Corporation may be in discussions to sell ultra-luxury brand Seabourn to the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, according to a Tweet from CNBC reporter Seema Moody.
In an email sent to Cruise Industry News on Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for Carnival Corporation said: “We don’t comment on rumor and speculation.”
Saudi Arabia has been known in industry circles to be eyeing a major investment into the cruise industry.
Having already developed ports and having attracted cruise calls and homeporting operations, rumors have persisted in industry circles that the country’s public wealth fund desires a greater role in the cruise business.
Carnival Corporation and the Saudi Public Investment Fund have a long-standing relationship, as the fund took a large stake in the cruise operator when the pandemic hit in 2020.
In March, cruise executive Lars Classen was appointed as the CEO of Cruise Saudi, with the Cruise Saudi said to be pursuing the development “of the cruise sector in the Red Sea and elsewhere.” Classen played a key role recently starting The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, and was previously the CEO of A-ROSA River Cruises and president of AIDA Cruises, Carnival Corporation’s German brand.
Carnival in discussions to sell Seabourn brand to the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, per sources. Talks are still ongoing, no deal finalized as of yet. Comes <1 week after Carnival went to the debt market to raise $1b at 10% yield. Saudis currently own 5.1% stake in $CCL.
— Seema Mody (@seemacnbc) May 24, 2022