LVMH cedes control of cruise retail to Florida developer Jim Gissy

PARIS (Reuters) -LVMH signed a deal to sell a majority stake in the parent company of its cruise retail business to a group of investors led by Florida property developer Jim Gissy, but will remain an “important minority shareholder” in the new entity, the luxury group said on Friday.

“The new investors are strategic partners in the vacation retail space with a culture of innovation and a growth mindset,” LVMH said in a statement.

The deal to sell the majority stake in Cruise Line Holdings Co, the parent company of the Starboard & Onboard Cruise Services businesses, is expected to be concluded in the coming days. Financial details were not provided.

Starboard CEO Lisa Bauer, recruited by LVMH for the job in 2019, will continue to lead the business, which will be expanded from cruise ships to vacation retail spots on land.

Starboard, which is based in Miami, sells handbags, jewellery and beauty products on dozens of ships belonging to companies including Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Holland America.

LVMH does not break down sales for the business, part of its selective retailing activity, which also manages beauty chain Sephora and travel retail business DFS.

Gissy is executive vice president of Florida time share company Westgate resorts.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Piotr Lipinski and Mimosa Spencer, Editing by Louise Heavens and Daniel Wallis)