From left: Heritage group's Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio and A&K's Geoffrey JW Kent

Geoffrey Kent, founder, chairman and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent (A&K), and Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, chairman and former owner of Silversea Cruises, have sealed a strategic partnership to jointly acquire 100 per cent of the luxury tour operator for an undisclosed amount.

The Monaco-based Heritage group, of which Lefebvre currently chairs, will own 85 per cent of A&K, while Kent will hold the remaining 15 per cent.

From left: Heritage group’s Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio and A&K’s Geoffrey JW Kent

Kent will continue as chairman and CEO of the operating company, while Lefebvre will become chairman of A&K Holding.

The long-time friends and business partners, who also acquired the MV Explorer together in 1992, are taking control of A&K from struggling Chinese conglomerate Zhonghong Holdings Group, which bought the company in 2016 from US-based Fortress Investment Group.

In a statement, Lefebvre, said: “A&K is the finest luxury travel company in the world, and I am honoured to be able to partner with Geoffrey Kent to help this remarkable company continue its record growth.”

A&K is a separate and unique investment by Heritage group, led by Lefebvre d’Ovidio, and does not involve Silversea. The Royal Caribbean Group recently acquired a 66 per cent stake in Silversea Cruises.

The closing is expected to be completed later in the year, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

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