Skift Take

The new partnership is just the latest in Lindblad's recent acquisition spree.


Expedition travel leader Lindblad Expeditions announced this week the acquisition of Wineland-Thomson Adventures, an award-winning adventure travel group, through its subsidiary Natural Habitat Adventures.

The move is meant to strengthen Lindblad’s presence in East Africa, particularly Tanzania, with the addition of Wineland-Thomson’s most prized possession – Thomson Safaris. Four-decade-old Thomson operates experiences across the Serengeti.

Wineland-Thomson’s portfolio also includes Gibb’s Farm, a lodge on the slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater in the Eastern Rift Valley of Northern Tanzania.

Updated: From its quarterly report SEC filing: “The aggregate purchase price for Wineland-Thompson Adventures, which includes one U.S.-based company and four Tanzanian-based companies, will be approximately $30 million and will be financed through at least $24 million in cash and Lindblad stock of up to $6 million…The purchase price for the Tanzanian-based companies is approximately $11.2 million.” The Company expects to complete the acquisition following required Tanzanian regulatory review and approval.”

The SEC filing also mentions two other previous Lindblad majority acquisitions where it increased its previous stake: “During April 2024, Mr. Bressler exercised a portion of the put option on Natural Habitat, allowing the Company to acquire an additional 9.95% of Natural Habitat for $15.2 million, increasing its ownership to 90.1%. 

During April 2024, the Company exercised a portion of its call option on DuVine, acquiring an additional 5% of the business and increasing its total ownership of DuVine to 75%, for $1.5 million.”

Shared Values Fuel Acquisition

Lindblad and Wineland-Thomson say they prioritize “sustainable” tourism practices and education. 

“With the addition of Wineland-Thomson and its esteemed Tanzania-based travel offerings, and world-class team members, we are not only expanding our footprint but are also creating more opportunities to inspire, educate, and preserve the wonders of our nature world,” said Sven-Olof Lindblad, founder and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions.

On the Lookout For Acquisitions

Lindblad acquired three other tour operators in 2021, including Off the Beaten Path, DuVine Cycle and Adventure Co, and Classic Journeys. This most recent acquisition aligns with Lindblad’s strategy of acquiring established adventure travel companies.

“The strategic acquisition of Wineland-Thomson will allow us to further expand our land offerings in and around East Africa,” said Ben Bressler, Founder and President of Natural Habitat Adventures. “And with the addition of Thomson Safaris … we will tap into the growth potential of small-group safaris in the beautiful Great Plains of Tanzania and beyond.”

Wineland-Thomson will continue providing stand-alone offerings and leverage Lindblad’s resources to accelerate growth and take advantage of demand trends, executives said

The company said in its earnings call that it is on the continued lookout for more acquisitions: “The company will continue to explore additional growth opportunities in the year ahead, including further diversifying its products portfolio or opportunity expanding its fleet to capitalize on the continued growth in demand for experiential travel.”

Growth at Lindblad

Lindblad also published its first-quarter earnings reports this week. Its total revenue increased 7% year-over-year to $153.6 million, and bookings were 4% ahead of the same period in 2023. 

While its EBITDA for land experiences was in line with the same period in 2023, the company said that increased tour revenues were offset by higher operating costs, including staff, investing in more departure options, and increased marketing.

Cruise and Tours Sector Stock Index Performance Year-to-Date

What am I looking at? The performance of cruise and tours sector stocks within the ST200. The index includes companies publicly traded across global markets including both cruise lines and tour operators.

The Skift Travel 200 (ST200) combines the financial performance of nearly 200 travel companies worth more than a trillion dollars into a single number. See more cruise and tours sector financial performance.

Read the full methodology behind the Skift Travel 200.


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Tags: acquisitions, adventure, adventure tourism, adventure travel, africa, lindblad expeditions, mergers and acquisitions, safari, Travel Experiences

Photo credit: Sunset on a private safari run by Thomson Safaris. Source: Thomson Safaris

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