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TUI AG (ETR: TUI1)(LSE: TUI) Thomson Cruises agreed to acquire the Legend of the Seas cruise ship from Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL), in the spring of 2017. Thomson Cruises, part of TUI UK & Ireland, is the third largest cruise line in the UK. TUI UK & Ireland. The purchase by TUI UK Ltd from RCI will see Thomson Cruises operate the vessel from May 2017, sailing from her homeport in the Mediterranean. The move comes a few weeks after Martin Gruschka‘s Swiss private equity firm Springwater Capital agreed to acquire a 51% stake in Pullmantur and Croisières de France (CDF) from Royal Caribbean. On April 28, TUI Group agreed to sell Hotelbeds for €1.2 billion to GNVA Acquisitions Limited, a company owned by UK private equity firm Cinven Capital and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Three weeks ago TUI said it plans to divest its Specialist Holidays Group (SHG) its global collection of niche holiday companies. “It’s an exciting time at Thomson Cruises as we bring to life our modernisation and transformation strategy to benefit UK cruise customers. This investment is another sign of our cruise business being a focus for driving growth in TUI UK and the wider TUI Group,” said Helen Caron, managing director of Thomson Cruises. “Since its inaugural sailing, Legend of the Seas has created many wonderful memories for hundreds of thousands of guests, and we expect this successful history to continue as she transitions to Thomson Cruises,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises. Legend of the Seas first entered service with Royal Caribbean in 1995, and was built by Chantier’s de L’Atlantique, now STX France, in St. Nazaire, France. The 69,130-gross-registered-tons ship carries 1,832 guests (double occupancy) and 726 crew. The vessel, to be renamed TUI Discovery 2, is the sister to the soon-to-be launched TUI Discovery and will increase the fleet to six ships. Legend of the Seas’ final sailing will be on March 13, 2017, with the officers and crew remaining with the company and will be transferred to other vessels worldwide after the ship leaves the Royal Caribbean International fleet. “The current round trip Brisbane, Australia sailings departing on January 6, 15, 29 and February 8 will operate as scheduled,” the company said. Going forward, its Rhapsody of the Seas and Vision of the Seas will be redeployed to accommodate its passengers. The acquisition marks four ships in the next four years for Thomson customers as the previously announced Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2 will be acquired from TUI Cruises for the Thomson Cruises fleet in 2018 and 2019 respectively. There are currently five ships in TUI Group’s Thomson Cruises fleet – Thomson Dream, Thomson Majesty, Thomson Celebration, Thomson Spirit and TUI Discovery which joined the fleet in summer 2016. The TUI Group, formerly Preussag AG, is the world’s leading tourism group, operating in around 180 destinations across the globe. The Group provides services along the entire tourism value chain for its 30 million customers. The company was founded in 1923. It embraces global leaders in the tour operator business, 1,800 travel shops and top online portals in Europe, five tour operator-airlines flying more than 140 state-of-the-art medium- and long-haul aircraft, over 300 hotels in its own portfolio under premium brands such as Riu and Robinson, and a cruise fleet of 13 ships. In the financial year 2014/15, the TUI Group with its 76,000 employees, generated a turnover of €20 billion. Global responsibility for sustainable economic, environmental and social activity is the core of its corporate culture. TUI is jointly listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange as a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. The company has a market capitalization of €7.88 billion. Having for more than 70 years been an industrial business operating as Preussag AG the company known today as TUI AG entered the tourism market in 1997 with the acquisition of one of Germany’s leading tourism companies Hapag-Lloyd. Further tourism acquisitions followed and the company started to exit from its industrial businesses. Acquiring some of the biggest names in European tourism including, Thomson, Fritidsresor and Nouvelles Frontières and shareholdings in the hotel groups RIU and Magic Life TUI AG created one of the world’s leading tourism groups. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises and CDF Croisières de France, as well as TUI Cruises (a brand aimed at a German-speaking audience) through a 50 percent joint venture with Germany’s TUI AG. Together, these six brands operate a combined total of 46 ships with an additional ten on order. They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on approximately 490 destinations on all seven continents. The company was founded in 1997 when Royal Caribbean international, founded in 1968, merged with Celebrity Cruises, founded in 1988. RCL is the world’s second-largest cruise line operator, after Carnival Corporation & plc. As of June 3, 2016 RCL had a market capitalization of $16.44 billion.]]>