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Chester Boat Company Limited has sold its York River Boat Cruises arm to River Thames sightseeing operator City Cruises plc.

Led by North West law firm DTM Legal, the £2.5m transaction marks City Cruises’ second acquisition outside London.

York River Boat Cruises’ existing 20-strong workforce will continue to be led by general manager Jo Dykes, who has worked with the business for more than 20 years.

Further, Jo will now oversee the company’s transition to the new brand, City Cruise York.

The co-owner and MD of Chester Boat Company, Brian Clarke, said: “It’s been a fantastic opportunity over the last 10 years using my wealth of experience to develop the business and it is with great pleasure that it can now be passed on to a larger operator that can take this business to its next level.“

Kyle Haughton, City Cruises’ managing director, commented: “Our objective is to grow the business beyond London and the new acquisition is a step towards achieving this.

“There are significant opportunities to work with the trade in York and the success we’ve had packaging attractions with cruises is something we want to develop there too.“

Chester Boat Company Limited is co-owned by Brian and Raquel Clarke. Trading as Chesterboat and operating passenger boats on the River Dee, the firm bought the York business in 2006.

Brian has worked with Chesterboat since 1979, when he joined as a boat driver.

The sale of the York operation will enable Brian and Raquel to focus on developing the commercial side of the business.

Head of Corporate and Commercial, Ed Barnes, led the team acting for Chester Boat Company.

Ed said: “This was an important strategic transaction for our client and one which involved fairly complex contractual arrangements and co-ordination among various stakeholders.

“We are delighted to have helped Brian and his team conclude the deal and look forward to working with Chester Boat Company Limited in the future.”


DTM Legal‘s expert and approachable team take a collaborative approach to assist businesses large and small. Contact Ed Barnes to find out how we can help your business on 01244 354800 or e-mail

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