A&K Travel Group Ltd., the global lifestyle and travel company that owns Abercrombie & Kent, Crystal Cruises and Cox & Kings, has announced an equity partnership with Santiago Dunn and his company, Ecoventura, a leader in sustainable travel in the Galapagos Islands. The partnership foresees an equity investment in Ecoventura as well as the creation of a joint venture, headed by Santiago Dunn in his new role as CEO of A&K South America.
“As Honorary Consul of Ecuador in Monaco, I am proud to announce this partnership and look forward to strengthening the relationship between our two countries,” said Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, co-chairman of the A&K Travel Group. “I met Santiago for the first time in 2009 and since then we have gained a mutual respect for one other and our respective achievements, as well as our shared passion for travel. He was a good partner when I ran Silversea Cruises and I look forward to working with him on A&K’s ambitious expansion plans in the region.”
Geoffrey Kent, Co-Chairman of the A&K Travel Group, added: “I have many heart-warming memories of trips to Ecuador and cannot wait to go back with my children to see the incredible wildlife. Through A&K Philanthropy, we will be working ensure that A&K and Ecoventura help to protect the islands for future generations, while supporting the local community. The Galapagenos share their natural heritage with our guests and we are committed to giving something back.”
“Santiago is a dear friend and a travel guru who I highly respect. We started working together in 2012 when I led the acquisition of Canodros,” explained Cristina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group. “After I left Silversea in 2017, we spent time together on his numerous sales trips to Europe. Those who know me well are aware that I consider Ecuador my second home and that I have missed my visits — and how warmly I was always welcomed in Guayaquil and Quito. The Galapagos Islands are a paradise on earth that I believe each person on the planet should visit at least once in their lifetime.”
Due to extensive internal experience with mergers and acquisitions, and a deep understanding of operations in the Galapagos, A&K Travel Group chose not to use external financial advisors but to leverage the expertise of Andrew Burrett, CFO, and Camille Drevillon, Chief of Staff, who have been instrumental in structuring this transaction.
Santiago Dunn, CEO of Ecoventura, described how the relationship developed. “I met Manfredi Lefebvre over a decade ago and as I got to know him and his fantastic team, I developed great respect for his vision for the future. When you combine that with the influence of Geoffrey Kent and A&K’s worldwide reputation, plus the 360-degree scope and 24/7 attention to detail with Cristina Levis at the helm, I am confident that our knowledge and experience will quickly translate into a portfolio of luxurious adventures across Latin America in partnership with local communities.”
“As we move forward, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the industry experience and counsel of Carmigniani Perez Abogados on behalf of Ecoventura. And I would like to personally thank Pedro M. Pérez and Daniel Dziouba for their support and advice throughout this process, in which not only legal, but sometimes more profound concepts and perspectives, were discussed and analyzed.”
Global law firm Paul Hastings LLP acted for A&K Travel Group, led by London M&A partner Matthew Poxon and London associates James Waite, Sam Waite and Rohin Ghosh Dastidar. Pérez Bustamante & Ponce acted for A&K Travel Group in respect of Ecuadorian law, while Carmigniani Pérez advised Santiago Dunn and Ecoventura.