Ambassador to buy American West Steamboat line

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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Ambassadors International, the travel and event management company headed by Peter and Joe Ueberroth, agreed to acquire Seattle-based American West Steamboat Co. from Oregon Rail Holdings.

Under the agreement, Ambassadors Cruise Group, a newly created division of Ambassadors International, will pay $1 for 100% of the shares of American West. David Giersdorf, a 30-year cruise industry veteran and former executive at Holland America Line, will be president and COO of the new cruise division of Ambassadors.

Most of American Wests staff is expected to stay on, according to Ambassadors President and CEO Joe Ueberroth. He said he expects the sale to close this month.

The new operation is expected to bring an additional $41 million in revenue to Ambassadors, according to Brian Schaefgen, Ambassadors CFO. The company will operate its 2006 schedule as previously published and will look to make innovative itinerary changes in 2007.

Founded in 1995, American West Steamboat Co. operates historical and nature-oriented cruises on the Columbia and Snake rivers, Alaskas Inside Passage and Puget Sound. It operates two modernized replicas of historic sternwheeler ships, the 231-passenger Empress of the North and the 150-passenger Queen of the West.

Ueberroth said Ambassadors is looking for complementary acquisitions in the niche cruise segment.

To contact reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].

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