That’s according to a report in CNBC: in a very interesting move symptomatic of Saudi’s super-sized ambitions in the travel sector, Carnival cruises is in early talks to sell its Seabourn ultra-luxury cruise brand to the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. Unclear so far if this is full sale of cruise line, or part-investment into Carnival.
According to Maritime Executive, Saudi’s sovereign-wealth fund acquired its first investment in Carnival in the spring of 2020 buying over 43.5 million shares of Carnival stock, about 8.2 percent of the shares outstanding, according to a filing with SEC. In its most recent filing, the fund reports it has increased the investment in Carnival to 50.8 million shares as well as $40 million in Carnival’s notes.
Seabourn has a seven ship luxury fleet, including two new expedition ships either in operation or about to be. It has a large slice of the American luxury market – a big attraction for the Saudis, according to Cruise Passenger.