Pacific Travel Partners, a subsidiary of Aurora Expeditions, has won the auction for the assets of Vantage Travel in the company’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.
The U.S. bankruptcy court will still oversee the bankruptcy process and will ultimately need to approve the sale, which faces objections from multiple parties.
Australia-based Aurora Expeditions, which operates the Greg Mortimer and Sylvia Earle (sister ships to both Vantage ships) year-round in the adventure cruise market, significantly sweetened its offer for Vantage.
The cash component of the bid was reported at $2 million, up from $1.5 million, while future consideration is based on five percent of the company’s total revenue from 2024 through 2028, according to Michael J. Goldberg, a lawyer from Casner & Edwards, representing Vantage, speaking on Wednesday morning in bankruptcy court.
For Vantage customers, they can use credits on trips through Nov. 30, 2028; credits are also transferrable to friends and family, but cannot be sold.
Vantage customers can use their credits to fund up to 50 percent of the cost of an ocean-going cruise, up from 20 percent from the original bid put in by Pacific Travel.
For river cruising and land trips, credits are capped at 20 percent of the trip cost. Credits cannot be used for air travel or trip extensions.
Credits can be applied to either the up-front deposit on the trip, or the final payment.
All deposits on new bookings from former Vantage customers will be placed in a trust account and not released to Pacific Travel until a day before the trip leaves.
The auction, which was scheduled for Monday afternoon, extended into Tuesday night and was held at a local law office in Boston, where the bankruptcy proceedings are taking place.
Final sealed bids were due by 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night, with Pacific Travel Partners emerging victorious after three rounds of bidding.
United Travel, made up of Nordic Hamburg and Heritage Expeditions, now becomes the “back up” bidder should the Pacific Travel deal fall through.