Travelopia is one of the world's leading specialist travel groups. From its headquarters in the UK, it provides customers with unique experiences including luxury holidays, sailing adventures, private jet travel, polar expedition cruises, sports tours and school expeditions.
The high-end experiential travel market has benefitted from the growing value consumers place on experiences over goods and the increasing mobility of older travellers.
Travelopia has a portfolio of more than 50 brands comprising specialist operators offering customers bespoke holidays. Hayes & Jarvis and Austravel offer personalised, long-haul holidays; Sovereign and Citalia provide short-haul, luxury breaks; Exodus specialises in adventure holidays; and Sunsail and The Moorings offer global sailing holidays and yacht charter.
With a turnover of almost £1.1bn and EBITDA of £26m, Travelopia has a large international customer base of over 800,000 travellers each year and serves over 70 destinations globally.
TUI AG (TUI) created the Travelopia brand to act as an umbrella for its specialist experiential brands, which were subsequently deemed non-core. The TUI Board decided to sell the business in 2016.
What difference did we make?
We originally introduced the opportunity to KKR in 2014, assisted by Catalyst's specialist industry advisor, John Wimbleton. John had previously been the CEO of Travelopia and had served on the Board of TUI.
Through our knowledge of the business, we developed and presented a strategic plan to turn Travelopia, including its collection of more than 50 specialist travel brands, into a more focused, premium tour operator of significant scale.
TUI appointed advisers to run an extensive auction in 2016, with many businesses showing interest.
Owing to both our unique insight into the business and our relationships with the management team, we helped KKR to emerge successfully from the auction in February 2017. TUI favoured KKR’s desire and ability to deliver a deal within a tight timeframe.
Such was their appetite to secure the deal, KKR chose to equity underwrite the investment with a view to securing debt financing before completion, largely driven by the scale of the opportunity and the vision for the business we had presented.
Member, Head of Services, KKR Europe