Specialist Tours on acquisition trail following private equity firm buyout

Specialist Tours on acquisition trail following private equity firm buyout

A UK-based specialist wine tours business is to be acquired by Specialist Tours after a majority stake in the niche operator was sold to a private equity firm.

The company owns a number of specialist travel brands aimed at over 50s holidaymakers, running small group, expert-led archaeology and history tours.

It handles almost 3,000 holidaymakers a year across 135 itineraries to more than 80 destinations.

The businesses generated turnover of more than £8 million in the year to December 2014.

Salisbury-based Specialist Tours employs more than 30 people and was created through the acquisition of archaeology specialist, Andante Travels, in 2013, Historical Trips and New York-based Archaeological Tours in March.

The group will continue to be led by chief executive Ian Finlay (pictured), former managing director of Tui’s education division.

Other members of the senior management team will also remain with the business following the buy out by Kings Park Capital for an undisclosed sum.

KPC is to support the group’s growth by providing funding to continue the investment in its team and infrastructure, as well as further acquisitions of niche operators in adjacent special interest areas, a number of which have already been identified.

Finlay said: “Securing an investment from a like-minded institutional partner with a great track record of assisting travel and leisure businesses to achieve their growth objectives will allow us to expand our brand portfolio and to offer a greater variety of experiences to our valued customers, while maintaining the specialist ethos and high standards of quality that allowed us to develop a loyal following over the years.

“I am excited about the next stage of growth we are about to embark on with KPC’s guidance and support.”

KPC partner, Jason Katz, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Ian Finlay, who we have got to know well over the last few years, and backing management team’s vision of creating a specialist travel group focussed on the attractive over-50s demographic.

“We look forward to working together with management to create a leading multi-brand travel portfolio in this lucrative segment of the market during our period of ownership.”

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