Retail in Asia


LVMH strikes deal to sell majority stake in cruise retail business

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has struck an agreement to sell a majority stake in its cruise retail business, which includes Starboard Cruise Services and Onboard Media, to a group of investors. These are led by Jim Gissy, Executive Vice President of Westgate Resorts, with LVMH remaining “an important minority shareholder”, believed to be close to 20 percent according to reliable sources in France.

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A new joint-venture company, Global Travel Retail Holdings, has been created to manage the business.

“The new investors are strategic partners in the vacation retail space with a culture of innovation and a growth mindset,” LVMH said.

A group of investors opens a new chapter for Starboard. Pictured from left are Anish Melwani, Chris de Lapuente, Lisa Bauer, John and Marcia Rowle, Jim Gissy, Crisa and Michael Marder (not pictured: David Siegel). Photo: Starboard Cruise Services.

The agreement to sell a majority stake in Cruise Line Holdings Co, the parent company of the Starboard & Onboard Cruise Services businesses, should be concluded in the coming days.

Starboard president and CEO Lisa Bauer will continue to lead the business, whose remit will extend from cruise ships to vacation retail locations on land.

Starboard said in a statement on LinkedIn: “Capping off an incredible year for Starboard and Onboard Media, we are thrilled to announce the formation of Global Travel Retail Holdings, welcoming four new investors who will take ownership positions in Starboard and Onboard together with LVMH.

“Joining LVMH in the new ownership group are new Board Chair Jim Gissy, Board Vice Chair Marcia Rowley along with her husband John Rowley, the family office of Central Florida-based billionaire David Siegel, and Hannaford Investments, LLC, co-owned by Michael and Crisa Marder. Lisa Bauer, CEO of Starboard and Onboard Media will serve on the company’s board of directors.”

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Source: LVMH

Bauer said: “I’ve known and worked with Jim, Marcia, John, and David for nearly 20 years. Having worked alongside them driving profitable growth and excellent customer experience, I knew they were the perfect partners to help take Starboard and Onboard Media forward.

“Our entire company is excited for this next phase of expansion. We have been very fortunate to be a Maison within the LVMH Group since 2000, and we are appreciative of LVMH’s continued and important participation in the venture going forward.”