Travelopia bosses have signalled its brands will be more trade friendly following the sale of Tui’s specialist businesses division to private equity firm KKR.
Tui confirmed the sale to KKR for £325 million last night. The deal, set to complete in the next six to 12 weeks, will see Travelopia’s 53 brands leave the corporate travel giant to become part of one of the world’s largest private equity companies.
Chief executive, Will Waggott, said the sale would come as a huge relief to the company’s 4,013 staff. He reassured them it was “business as usual” with no change to company locations or staff.
“This is going to be really good for everyone in the business to have a new owner who will focus on what makes these businesses good and invest in what they need to grow after nearly three years of uncertainty, which made it difficult for the whole of employee base,” he said.
A number of Travelopia brands will work more closely with travel agents, including tour operators Citalia, Exodus and Quark Expeditions.
Martin Froggatt, managing director, expeditions, education and events, said: “From the trade’s perspective, brands like Citalia will get a lot closer to the trade. Having been part of Tui, it has been difficult to do that.
“We have not had huge investment while we have been going through the sales process. I think KKR will be the key to unlocking that conundrum.”
Thomson agents will remain a key part of the brands’ distribution model as well as independent agents.
Waggott added that the deal would result in significant investment in technology, from brands’ websites to consolidating back-office systems, social media engagement and CRM, while the group was likely to expand into China, selling some of its brands to the Chinese market.
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