According to Reuters M&A correspondent Carl O’Donnell, “Sandals Resorts International is exploring strategic alternatives including a potential sale of the company, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Sandals has hired investment bank Deutsche Bank AG to explore several options, including a sale of a majority stake in the company, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.
The valuation of the company could not be learned, but the sources said it could be worth well over $1 billion USD, including debt. There is no certainty the move will result in any deal, the sources added.
Sandals representatives contacted by Reuters did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Deutsche Bank declined to comment.
Sandals Resorts International, under the leadership of charismatic founder Gordon “Butch” Stewart, has been an expansive company with an aggressive growth trajectory. Financing costly growth initiatives of any significant scale is difficult in the Caribbean due to the undercapitalization issues with regional lenders and banks. Butch may be looking to Wall Street as a vehicle to fund expansion.
The possibility of an ownership handover comes at a pivotal time for Sandals’ Saint Lucian operations. Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort recently unveiled its luxurious Over-the-Water bungalows – the first of their kind in the Eastern Caribbean.
During Tuesday evening’s budget address, Saint Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet listed Sandals La Source as one of several tourism development projects currently under consideration by his administration. The new hotel is estimated to cost $250 million USD with construction anticipated to begin in December of this year.
It is unclear what repercussions a potential boardroom reshuffling will mean for Sandals Resorts International and its activities in Saint Lucia.