Sunsail and The Moorings now share same owner

LONDON -- First Choice Holidays PLC, an international leisure travel company based in London, UK, has acquired Boca Raton, Fla.-based Grand Expeditions Inc. and its related management team, bringing yacht charter companies Sunsail and The Moorings together under the same ownership, First Choice said in a release yesterday.

The company said completion of the acquisition marks a significant step for First Choice in its move into the North American market.

"We are delighted that Grand Expeditions will be joining First Choice," said Peter Long, chief executive of First Choice. “We have identified North America as a key source market for us in specialist niche segments. The companies within Grand Expeditions have significant growth characteristics and first-rate management teams with the drive and dynamism we want in the group.

“By acquiring The Moorings, we are now able to offer the widest choice of sailing experiences in the world and we will ensure that we maximize the opportunities that this brings us.”

First Choice said it plans to continue to operate the Grand Expeditions companies from the US and the experienced management teams of those companies will not only remain with the business but will help identify, manage and integrate further acquisitions in their region markets.

The First Choice yacht charter company, Sunsail, will become part of Grand Expeditions and will report directly to Hans Birkholz. Both Lex Raas, president of The Moorings and Peter Cochran, managing director of Sunsail will continue to run their respective brands, according to the release.

With both part of Grand Expeditions, Sunsail and The Moorings will be able to leverage off the combined strength of their respective brands and market positioning.

First Choice, which assumes control of Grand Expeditions, effective immediately, said it anticipates significant business growth and benefits from this acquisition and intends to use Grand Expeditions as a platform to create a leading position in the US market.

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