UK luxury operator Original Travel sells 60% stake to French firm

UK luxury operator Original Travel sells 60% stake to French firm

French tailor-made travel company Voyageurs du Monde has acquired a 60% stake in UK luxury operator Original Travel for an undisclosed sum.

The “transformational” deal follows a 12-month review of the UK market by Voyageurs du Monde, as it sought an investment opportunity to further expand its international operations into key English-speaking markets.

London-based Original Travel and its existing management team will become Voyageurs du Monde’s partner and platform for “organic and acquisitive growth” in the English-speaking world.

The remaining 40% interest will continue to be held by Original Travel’s management team, which includes two of the company’s founders, Nick Newbury and Tom Barber, along with sales and service director Neill Ghosh.

Original Travel, which employs 50 staff, has experienced uninterrupted growth since its establishment in 2003. In contrast to the bespoke travel sector, which only recently returned to pre-recession levels, multi-award winning

Original Travel has achieved six times revenue growth since 2007.

Revenue in 2016 grew more than 20% to £15 million, and its English-speaking client base outside the UK has more than doubled in the last year.

The investment will enable Original Travel to build on this growth both organically and through acquisition in key English-speaking markets.

Voyageurs du Monde has a market capitalisation of €260 million. It reported revenue in 2015 of €362 million and earnings [EBITDA] of €21 million.

The French firm’s chief executive Jean Francois Rial said: “We are very excited about our investment in Original Travel.

“We have been hugely impressed by their market-leading client service levels, their innovative product and 14-year unbroken growth profile.

“We believe the Original Travel management team are the best placed team in the UK to help us develop the leading bespoke travel company in the English-speaking world.”

Newbury added: “Voyageurs du Monde is a phenomenally successful business and we were flattered to have been approached.

“Voyageurs du Monde’s international ambitions, highly innovative approach to client service, product and technology will be transformational for the development of Original Travel and our team.

“Our clients can rest assured that it will very much be business as usual and they will continue to receive the high levels of service and innovative product that they have come to expect from Original Travel.

“Partnering with a business that shares our ethos is a hugely significant development as we embark on the next step of our corporate growth.”

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