Virgin Voyages Raises $550 Million Led by Ares Management for Expansion


Image: Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages, the award-winning cruise brand from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, has successfully concluded a $550 million funding round to accelerate its growth initiatives. The round was led by funds managed by the Private Equity Group of Ares Management, a renowned global alternative investment manager. It also featured additional investment from existing backers, including Virgin Group and Bain Capital.

This new capital injection positions Virgin Voyages to enhance its financial position while supporting its rapid expansion into international markets. The brand is focused on delivering an exceptional and innovative customer experience.

As Virgin Voyages enters its next phase of growth, the company has announced that founding Chief Executive Officer Tom McAlpin is retiring as CEO and transitioning to the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors. Nirmal Saverimuttu, the current President and Chief Experience Officer, will take over as the new Chief Executive Officer.

Virgin Voyages, launched in August 2021, currently operates three ships serving the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and soon, Australia and New Zealand. The brand has already made a significant impact in the industry, consistently receiving top accolades and awards.

Aaron Rosen, Partner and Co-Portfolio Manager of Special Opportunities in the Ares Private Equity Group, expressed confidence in Virgin Voyages’ unique product and value proposition in the growing cruise industry. The capital raised positions the company strongly for future growth.

Virgin Group CEO Josh Bayliss commended Virgin Voyages’ leadership for creating extraordinary experiences and challenging the status quo while placing purpose at the core of their operations. Tom McAlpin’s leadership has been instrumental in establishing Virgin Voyages as a consistently innovative and brilliant brand.

Nirmal Saverimuttu, who has been with Virgin Voyages since its early days and assumed the role of President and Chief Experience Officer in early 2021, expressed gratitude to Tom McAlpin for his leadership and dedication to the business. Saverimuttu looks forward to partnering with Ares and existing investors to fulfill the brand’s growth and expansion plans.

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as exclusive financial advisor and sole placement agent to Virgin Voyages, with legal counsel provided by Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal counsel to Ares.

Virgin Voyages is set to embark on a new chapter of growth, expanding its reach and offering extraordinary cruise experiences to travelers around the world.

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