French billionaire to buy luxury line Ponant

French billionaire to buy luxury line Ponant

France’s billionaire Pinault family has said it plans to buy luxury cruise line Ponant

Artemis SA, the family’s holding company, will purchase the operator from private equity firm Bridgepoint, which itself acquired the line in 2012.

Francois-Henri Pinault, son of Francois, the self-made mogul, serves as chairman of both Artemis, which owns auction house Christie’s, and Kering, parent company of fashion label Gucci and sports brand Puma.

Francois Pinault is the the 65th wealthiest man in the world, according to Forbes, with an estimated fortune of $13.7 billion, and will become the cruise industry’s richest owner.

Figures have not been disclosed but, according the Bloomberg, Ponant could have an equity value of about 400 million euros (£285 million).

Founded in 1998 by Philippe Videau, Jean-Emmanuel Sauvé, and other officers of the French Merchant Navy, Ponant operates five luxury ships, including L’Austral, pictured above, and the newly launched Le Lyrial.

The Pinault family is thought to have purchased Ponant in a bid to keep the line in French hands, amid interest from Asia and the US.



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