New JV as investors move for majority share in LVMH’s cruise division

By Luke Barras-hill |

Four investors led by Florida developer Jim Gissy have moved to take ownership shares in the cruise retail division of LVMH.

Celebrity Ascent is among Starboard Cruise Services’ concession portfolio.

[UPDATED] A new joint venture company – Global Travel Retail Holdings – has been established to take an ownership position in the parent of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s cruise retail division, which comprises Starboard Cruise Services and sister firm Onboard Media. 

In a statement obtained by TRBusiness, LVMH confirms it has concluded a transaction to sell a majority position in Cruise Line Holdings Co. to a group of four investors spearheaded by Florida-based businessman Jim Gissy.

It describes the four investors as ‘strategic partners in the vacation retail space with a culture of innovation and a growth mindset’.

The transaction is expected to conclude in the coming days subject to customary conditions.

“LVMH will continue as an important minority shareholder in this new company,” it continued.

Land-based vacation retail opportunities

No financial terms for the transaction have been disclosed.

Starboard Cruise Services President and CEO Lisa Bauer will helm the new company alongside her executive team and will be tasked with accelerating strong post-Covid business momentum while developing new cruise retail opportunities in addition to land-based vacation retail.

Lisa Bauer, CEO of Onboard Media and Starboard Cruise Services, will serve on the new company’s board of directors.

Chris de Lapuente, Chairman and CEO of the Selective Retailing Division of LVMH, said: “We are very pleased with this strategic alliance that will enable Starboard and Onboard to further develop their activities and accelerate our strong post-Covid momentum.”

Bauer added: “We are so energised with the new opportunities that will open up to us. The entire leadership team is focused on taking the tremendous progress we have made and directing that toward continuing success in 2024 and beyond.”

A statement issued yesterday via Starboard Cruise Services’ and Onboard Media’s LinkedIn accounts confirmed that Bauer will also serve on the board of Global Travel Retail Holdings.

Board Chair Gissy, Vice President of Orlando-headquartered timeshare and resort developer Westgate Resorts, is joined by Board Vice Chair Marcia Rowley and her husband John Rowley, the family office of Central Florida-based billionaire David Siegel, and Hannaford Investments, LLC, co-owned by Michael and Crisa Marder.

 “I’ve known and worked with Jim, Marcia, John, and David for nearly 20 years,” said Bauer in the LinkedIn statement.

“Having worked alongside them driving profitable growth and excellent customer experience, I knew they were the perfect partners to help take Onboard Media and Starboard forward.

“Our entire company is excited for this next phase of expansion. We have been very fortunate to be a Maison within the LVMH Group since 2000, and we are appreciative of LVMH’s continued and important participation in the venture going forward.”

TRBusiness aims to bring you more on this story as it develops…

READ MORE: Starboard Cruise Services announces executive leadership appointments


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