Accommodation supplier Youtravel.com is poised to announce a significant new shareholder in the business having agreed a deal with leading German tour operator FTI Touristik.
An email from Youtravel founder John Kent and FTI founder and chief executive Dietmar Gunz, which was seen by Travel Weekly, says the deal is “subject to approval from the German Cartel Office”.
Kent confirmed the authenticity of the email but added he could not give any more details or make any comment until a full announcement is made. The email, dated May 13, said: “It is expected that further information will be released in the next few days.”
The news comes after Youtravel announced the departure of managing director Matt Cheevers in March when the company said it had secured new funding from its Abu Dhabi shareholders.
YouTravel is among a dwindling number of independent hotel-only providers in Europe following a series of failures and consolidation and was said to have been of potential interest to operators on the continent wanting to launch a dynamic packaging platform in the UK.
An industry observer said: “Combine this with Flight-Plus Atol and their is a clear market opportunity for somebody to sell dynamicaly packaged product under their own Atol to the trade in the same way FTI does in Germany.”
FTI became fully-owned by UK tour operator Airtours in 2000 prompting the departure of Gunz, but in 2003 Gunz led an investor group buyout and returned to the company.
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