Kuoni up against US suitor for Tui’s Travelopia

Kuoni up against US suitor for Tui’s Travelopia

Swiss-based Kuoni Group is vying with US buyout firms to acquire Tui’s Travelopia group of specialist travel businesses, according to a weekend report.

The division of luxury and adventure holiday brand comprises more than 50 websites, including upmarket operator Hayes & Jarvis and Quark Expeditions, and could fetch about £400 million.

Tui has received offers from Kuoni and the American buyout giants KKR and Warburg Pincus, after putting Travelopia up for sale in September, the Sunday Times reported.

The auction, which is being handled by the Wall Street giant Citi, is set to conclude before March. Travelopia makes underlying profits of €50 million (£42 million) a year, and Tui is seeking about €500 million for the business.

However, insiders said that bidders had so far been unwilling to match this valuation.

A sale would continue Tui’s attempts to shed peripheral operations so it can strengthen its balance sheet and concentrate on package holidays.

Tui sold its Hotelbeds business to the London-based buyout firm Cinven for €1.2 biilion last April.

Just months before, it offloaded its hotel booking website LateRooms to Cox & Kings. It has also jettisoned its underperforming AsiaRooms booking site.

Kuoni is owned by the Swedish buyout firm EQT after a £1 billion takeover last year.

The Zurich-based travel service supplier sold its tour operating businesses, including Kuoni UK, in 2015 but is seen as a frontrunner despite strong competition from its US rivals.

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