Luxury small-ship cruise line Compagnie du Ponant, noted for its polar excursions, has been acquired by Bridgepoint, a private equity firm.

Bridgepoint is a European company with a diverse portfolio of businesses, including management of Hallmark hotels in the U.K.

Ponant has three ships flagged in France. It had previously been owned by CMA CGM, the third-largest container shipping company worldwide.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ponant carried 20,000 passengers and had gross revenue of 80 million euros (about $100 million) last year, a statement said.

Bridgeport said current management "will play an active part in this new stage of development."

Ponant was founded in 1988 by Jean Emmanuel Sauvee and Veronique Saade. The cruise line has 580 employees.

Ponant is scheduled to take delivery of a fourth ship in May.

Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly

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