Viking Cruises Makes a Splash with $1.5 Billion IPO

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Viking Cruises, the leading provider of destination-focused river and ocean cruises, hit the open waters of the public markets today in a blockbuster $1.5 billion initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The Los Angeles-based company and its shareholders offered a total of 64,041,668 ordinary shares at $24 apiece, with the potential for an additional $230 million in proceeds if underwriters exercise their over-allotment option in full.

The long-awaited IPO marks a major milestone for Viking, which was founded in 1997 by Norwegian entrepreneurs Torstein Hagen and his daughter Karine. From its humble beginnings operating modest river cruises along the Russian waterways, the company has grown into a heavyweight of the cruise industry known for its culturally immersive voyages that appeal to intellectually curious travelers.

“This is an incredibly exciting day for Viking as we embark on our next chapter as a public company,” said Torstein Hagen, Viking’s Chairman. “The proceeds from this offering will enable us to further our commitment to creating exceptional destination-focused experiences for our guests.”

While Viking raised $264 million from its portion of the IPO shares, the lion’s share came from long-time investors like private equity firms TPG, Genting Group, and AAMCF who cashed out $1.27 billion worth of their stakes. Viking did not receive any proceeds from shares sold by these selling shareholders.

The offering was hot with investors, getting upsized by 8 million shares due to high demand. Viking’s $6.0 billion market cap and profitable business model operating a fleet of 63 river vessels and 8 ocean ships made it an attractive catch amidst the choppy conditions facing many travel companies.

Now trading under the catchy “VIK” ticker, the IPO was led by heavyweight investment banks BofA Securities and J.P. Morgan acting as lead underwriters. They were joined by a syndicate including UBS, Wells Fargo, HSBC, Morgan Stanley and seven other co-managers.

Viking has ambitious plans for the growth capital. The company intends to use the $264 million net proceeds to fund additional cruise ships and travel experiences, invest in sales and marketing, and accelerate expansion into new markets. Up next are the launches of Viking’s highly-anticipated expedition cruises to the Arctic and Antarctic scheduled for 2025.

The IPO caps off a remarkable rise for the company from its modest beginnings over 25 years ago. Thanks to its unique vision of combining a curated curriculum of educational content with Scandinavian design and cuisine, Viking has cultivated a loyal community whom they fondly refer to as “The Thinking Person.”

With the winds of the public markets now at its back, Viking’s next voyage looks bound for its status as the world’s largest and leading small-ship cruise line. As Torstein Hagen says, “We will remain driven by our mandate of creating culturally enriching experiences that allow our guests to explore the world in comfort.”


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