Zhonghong Group (“Zhonghong”) and Abercrombie & Kent Group of Companies S.A. (“A&K”) today announced that Zhonghong has agreed to purchase a majority of the equity interests in A&K from its current owners, including a company owned by investment funds managed by an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC. Zhonghong is principally engaged in the development and operation of tourism-related properties and commercial real estate.
Abercrombie & Kent will retain its distinctive brand, culture and operating independence under the leadership of founder Geoffrey Kent as Chairman and CEO, who will maintain a meaningful ownership interest alongside his new partners. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016.
“Since we began working with Geoffrey Kent in 2006, he has done a wonderful job of growing the business,” said Fortress Co-Chairman Wes Edens. “This new partnership will help A&K take advantage of new opportunities to redefine the travel experience.”
Abercrombie & Kent is the world’s leading luxury and adventure travel company. Its award-winning travel services extend around the globe to more than 100 countries on all seven continents. Fifty-two local offices provide an unwavering commitment to service — with the unquestioned best in expert local guides, luxurious accommodations, safety standards, unique transport, and thoughtfully-designed itineraries. Recent innovations include Inspiring Expeditions cultural odysseys for the modern adventurer, Journeys Around the World by Private Jet andConnections Boutique Group Journeys that bring a destination to life through authentic local interactions.
“My time with Fortress has been amazing for Abercrombie & Kent, especially my relationship with Wes Edens, who has been a wonderful mentor and friend. Looking forward, the relationship with Zhonghong and their experience in real estate development and tourism positions A&K to continue to innovate by offering immersive and exhilarating experiences in uncharted destinations,” explained Geoffrey Kent. “It will give us access to capital to finance new investments in the expanding luxury and adventure travel markets.”
“Abercrombie & Kent is a legendary brand. The quality of their service is unrivalled, which presents many exciting growth opportunities globally. Geoffrey Kent introduced the first African luxury tented photographic safaris in 1962 and brought that same sense of adventure to destinations around the world. He will continue to lead the business as a true visionary in travel and tourism,” Zhonghong Group Chairman Yonghong Wang said.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is acting as legal advisor to A&K and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC is acting as its financial advisor. DLA Piper LLP is acting as legal advisor to Zhonghong.