L Catterton has provided $400 million in exchangeable notes to NCL Corporation (NCLC), a subsidiary of publicly traded Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL).
Norwegian Cruise Lines (NYSE: NCLH) is a global cruise company which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands. The company’s cruise itineraries range from a few days to 180-days calling on various locations, including destinations in Scandinavia, Russia, the Mediterranean, the Greek Isles, Alaska, Canada and New England, India and the rest of Asia, Tahiti and the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, Africa, South America, the Panama Canal, and the Caribbean. Norwegian Cruise Lines was founded in 1966 and is headquartered in Miami.
In addition to the new funds from L Catterton, NCL announced this morning that it has raised an additional $1.8 billion of capital comprised of $400 million in new equity and $1.4 billion in new bonds. NCL now has more than $3.5 billion of liquidity, which is enough for it to last for more than 12 months of voyage suspensions.
Norwegian Cruise Lines is the smallest of the big three cruise operators – behind Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruises – and suspended its operations in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month extended its No Sail Order until July 24. Many cruise companies are now considering resuming North American cruises on a limited basis beginning August 1.
“The cruise industry has been very resilient over a long period of time, driven by strong secular tailwinds and a high level of guest satisfaction. People enjoy cruising, with many guests taking multiple voyages over time,” said Scott Dahnke, the global co-CEO of L Catterton. “The industry has overcome numerous challenges in the past, and we expect that the industry will rebound and prosper with even further enhancements to their already rigorous health and safety protocols in place in the future.”
The newly issued notes purchased by L Catterton are senior unsecured obligations of NCLC, guaranteed by NCLH, and are exchangeable at any time into preferred shares of NCLC and are automatically exchangeable into ordinary shares of NCLH. The notes are due in 2026 and accrue payment-in-kind interest of 7.0% for the first year; payment-in-kind interest of 4.5% and cash interest at 3.0% for the next four years; and cash interest at 7.5% in the final year.
“We are pleased to execute this agreement with L Catterton, the largest and most global consumer-focused private equity firm in the world,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Lines. “L Catterton is the ideal partner for our company as they recognize the remarkable resilience the cruise industry has demonstrated over the past 50 years, appreciate the long-term global demand for cruise vacations, and value our company’s long track record of growth, execution and success.”
Norwegian Cruise Lines has a combined fleet of 28 ships with more than 59,000 berths. The company has nine new ships on order which are scheduled for delivery through 2027, however the company expects delivery of the new vessels to be delayed as a result of COVID-19.
“Within the industry, the three brands of Norwegian Cruise Lines have carved out distinctive leadership positions in their respective markets, guided capably by Frank Del Rio and his exceptional management team,” added Mr. Dahnke. “We couldn’t be more excited to support the team at Norwegian as they work through this suspension of travel and begin to commence operations after their voluntary suspension of voyages.”
L Catterton invests from $50 million to $400 million of capital in consumer-focused companies. Areas of specific interest include food and beverage, retail and restaurants, consumer products and services, consumer health, and media and marketing services. The firm was founded in 1989 and has raised over $20 billion of equity capital across seven funds. L Catterton has 17 offices globally and is headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Goldman Sachs & Co. was the placement agent to Norwegian Cruise Lines on this transaction.
Private Equity Professional | May 7, 2020
Portugal’s Faber reaches $24.3M for its second fund aimed at data-driven startups from Iberia
Portuguese VC Faber has hit the first close of its Faber Tech II fund at €20.5 million ($24.3 million). The fund will focus on early-stage data-driven startups starting from Southern Europe and the Iberian peninsula, with the aim of reaching a final close of €30 million in the coming months. The new fund targets pre-series A and early-stage startups in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Science.
The fund is backed by European Investment Fund (EIF) and the local Financial Development Institution (IFD), with a joint commitment of €15 million (backed by the Investment Plan for Europe – the Juncker Plan and through the Portugal Tech program), alongside other private institutional and individual investors.
Alexandre Barbosa, Faber’s Managing Partner, said “The success of the first close of our new fund allows us to foresee a growth in the demand for this type of investment, as we believe digital transformation through Intelligence Artificial, Machine Learning and data science are increasingly relevant for companies and their businesses, and we think Southern Europe will be the launchpad of a growing number.”
Faber has already ‘warehoused’ three initial investments. It co-financed a 15.6 million euros Series A for SWORD Health – portuguese startup that created the first digital physiotherapy system combining artificial intelligence and clinical teams. It led the pre-seed round of YData, a startup with a data-centric development platform that provides data science professionals tools to deal with accessing high-quality and meaningful data while protecting its privacy. It also co-financed the pre-seed round of Emotai, a neuroscience-powered analytics and performance-boosting platform for virtual sports.
Faber was a first local investor in the first wave of Portugal’s most promising startups, such as Seedrs (co-founded by Carlos Silva, one f Faber’s Partners) which recently announced its merger with CrowdCube); Unbabel; Codacy and Hole19, among others.
Faber’s main focus is deep-tech and data science startups and as such it’s assembled around 20 experts, researchers, Data Scientists, CTO’s, Founders, AI and Machine Learning professors, as part of its investment strategy.
In particular, it’s created the new role of Professor-in-residence, the first of whom is renowned professor Mário Figueiredo from Lisbon’s leading tech university Instituto Superior Técnico. His interests include signal processing, machine learning, AI and optimization, being a highly cited researcher in these fields.
Speaking to TechCrunch in an interview Barbosa added: “We’ve seen first-time, but also second and third-time entrepreneurs coming over to Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid and experimenting with their next startup and considering starting-up from Iberia in the first place. But also successful entrepreneurs considering extending their engineering teams to Portugal and building engineering hubs in Portugal or Spain.”
“We’ve been historically countercyclical, so we found that startups came to, and appears in Iberia back in 2012 / 2013. This time around mid-2020, we’re very bullish on what’s we can do for the entrepreneurial engine of the economy. We see a lot happening – especially around our thesis – which is basically the data stack, all things data AI-driven, machine learning, data science, and we see that as a very relevant core. A lot of the transformation and digitization is happening right now, so we see a lot of promising stuff going on and a lot of promising talent establishing and setting up companies in Portugal and Spain – so that’s why we think this story is relevant for Europe as a whole.”
Which emerging technologies are enterprise companies getting serious about in 2020?
Startups need to live in the future. They create roadmaps, build products and continually upgrade them with an eye on next year — or even a few years out.
Big companies, often the target customers for startups, live in a much more near-term world. They buy technologies that can solve problems they know about today, rather than those they may face a couple bends down the road. In other words, they’re driving a Dodge, and most tech entrepreneurs are driving a DeLorean equipped with a flux-capacitor.
That situation can lead to a huge waste of time for startups that want to sell to enterprise customers: a business development black hole. Startups are talking about technology shifts and customer demands that the executives inside the large company — even if they have “innovation,” “IT,” or “emerging technology” in their titles — just don’t see as an urgent priority yet, or can’t sell to their colleagues.
Rather than asking large companies about which technologies they were experimenting with, we created four buckets, based on what you might call “commitment level.” (Our survey had 211 respondents, 62% of them in North America and 59% at companies with greater than $1 billion in annual revenue.) We asked survey respondents to assess a list of 16 technologies, from advanced analytics to quantum computing, and put each one into one of these four buckets. We conducted the survey at the tail end of Q3 2020.
Respondents in the first group were “not exploring or investing” — in other words, “we don’t care about this right now.” The top technology there was quantum computing.
Bucket #2 was the second-lowest commitment level: “learning and exploring.” At this stage, a startup gets to educate its prospective corporate customer about an emerging technology — but nabbing a purchase commitment is still quite a few exits down the highway. It can be constructive to begin building relationships when a company is at this stage, but your sales staff shouldn’t start calculating their commissions just yet.
Here are the top five things that fell into the “learning and exploring” cohort, in ranked order:
- Augmented reality/mixed reality.
- Virtual reality.
- AI/machine learning.
- Wearable devices.
Technologies in the third group, “investing or piloting,” may represent the sweet spot for startups. At this stage, the corporate customer has already discovered some internal problem or use case that the technology might address. They may have shaken loose some early funding. They may have departments internally, or test sites externally, where they know they can conduct pilots. Often, they’re assessing what established tech vendors like Microsoft, Oracle and Cisco can provide — and they may find their solutions wanting.
Here’s what our survey respondents put into the “investing or piloting” bucket, in ranked order:
- Advanced analytics.
- AI/machine learning.
- Collaboration tools and software.
- Cloud infrastructure and services.
- Internet of things/new sensors.
By the time a technology is placed into the fourth category, which we dubbed “in-market or accelerating investment,” it may be too late for a startup to find a foothold. There’s already a clear understanding of at least some of the use cases or problems that need solving, and return-on-investment metrics have been established. But some providers have already been chosen, based on successful pilots and you may need to dislodge someone that the enterprise is already working with. It can happen, but the headwinds are strong.
Here’s what the survey respondents placed into the “in-market or accelerating investment” bucket, in ranked order:
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