Catalyst advises KKR on £325m agreement to buy Travelopia from Tui

Catalyst Corporate Finance has advised KKR on its agreement with TUI AG (TUI) to acquire Travelopia for £325m. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

Travelopia, headquartered in the UK, is one of the world's leading specialist travel groups, providing customers with unique experiences, such as sailing adventures, tailor-made holidays, sports tours, school expeditions, private jet travel and polar expedition cruises. Travelopia has a large international customer base of over 800,000 travellers each year and serves over 70 destinations globally through its 53 brands.

Catalyst Partner Mark Farlow, who led the deal and is a recognised expert in the travel sector, commented:

“We are delighted to have worked once again with KKR in the travel sector. Together with Will Waggott and his team, I am sure they will build on the opportunity to create a first-class business of scale. Within Travelopia there are several world-leading travel businesses; however, they were not always obvious to potential buyers as they were hidden amongst a multiplicity of brands within a division that had been non-core for three years.

At Catalyst, we are passionate advocates of specialist tour operators that excel in their niche. We believe Travelopia has an exciting future as it blossoms into a collection of market-leading, specialist travel brands.

We are, as always, indebted to the specialist knowledge of our travel sector advisor John Wimbleton, who was able to help us articulate the potential of Travelopia to KKR when we first outlined the opportunity to them in 2014. He has helped us support them as a client up to and including the successful conclusion of the deal.”

Mattia Caprioli, Member & Head of Services at KKR Europe, said: “The high-end experiential travel market is underpinned by attractive structural growth drivers. These include the growing value consumers place on experiences over goods and the increasing mobility of older travelers. We believe that Travelopia is ideally positioned to benefit from these trends. We intend to leverage our experience in the leisure and travel sector gained through investments such as PortAventura, Get Your Guide, Trainline, Go-Jek and Apple Leisure, to support management in their strategic initiatives.”

Will Waggott, CEO of Travelopia, said: “KKR's experience in the sector, global reach and digital expertise make it the perfect partner for Travelopia as we continue to grow. We have leading brands, loyal customers, deep destination expertise and a highly committed employee base, which puts us in a strong position to address the large and growing experiential travel market opportunity. I am very excited about the next chapter in Travelopia's history and what it will offer our customers.” 

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