Adventure travel company Lindblad Expeditions is taking a majority stake in US eco-tourism firm Natural Habitat.

The $20 million deal will see Linblad acquire 80.1% of the Colorado-based business with founder and president Ben Bressler retaining a 19.9% ownership interest.

Natural Habitat was previously owned by Bresseler and Gaiam, a leading brand focused on wellness and fitness.

The company achieved net revenues of about $41 million last year with earnings [EBITDA] of $3.7 million and net profit of $1.5 million.

Natural Habitat’s focus on responsible land-based travel includes polar bear tours in Churchill, Canada, Alaskan grizzly bear adventures, small-group Galapagos tours and African safaris.

The firm has partnered with World Wildlife Fund since 2003 to offer conservation travel designed to directly protect nature, an agreement that has been extended to 2023.

Lindblad expects to market its ship-based trips to Natural Habitat customers while also marketing Natural Habitat’s offerings to its own customer database, expanding the market reach of both businesses.

Linblad president and chief executive, Sven-Olof Lindblad, said: “Knowing our travel audience has diverse interests beyond sea-going expeditions, Nat Hab offers a perfect complement on land to what we do with ships.

“They are a focused, quality-oriented enterprise while, at the same time, understand the imperative for supporting important conservation work in areas visited from both a moral and business objective.”

Bressler added: “Natural Habitat has experienced exceptional growth over the last several years via a focus on the core business and our commitment to enhancing the value proposition of our offerings.

“We have developed a strong relationship with Lindblad over the years and recognise it as a leader in expedition travel. It has a clear track record of supporting and growing its brand.

“We are confident that we have found the right strategic partner to help evolve our business and we look forward to collaborating with Lindblad to enhance and grow the Natural Habitat brand.”