Voyageurs du Monde has made a significant strategic investment in acquiring a 60 per cent stake in Original Travel, one of the UK’s fastest growing bespoke travel companies.
The acquisition 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.
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.
Original Travel has experienced uninterrupted growth since its establishment in 2003.
In contrast to the bespoke travel sector, which only recently returned to pre-recession levels, Original Travel has achieved six times revenue growth since 2007.
In 2016 revenue grew more than 20 per cent to £15 million, and its English-speaking client base outside the UK has more than doubled in the last year. Post Voyageurs du Monde’s investment, Original Travel will build on this growth both organically and through acquisition in key English-speaking markets.
Voyageurs du Monde is listed on the Euronext and is currently trading around its all-time high, with a market capitalisation of €260 million.
In 2015 the company reported revenue of €362 million and EBITDA of €21 million.
Voyageurs du Monde is majority owned by its management team, Alain Capestan, Jean Francois Rial, Lionel Habasque, Frederic Moulin and Loic Minvielle.
Original Travel was founded in 2003 by Nick Newbury, Tom Barber and Alastair Poulain with the aim of combining the personal insights and exceptional knowledge of highly experienced travel consultants to create memorable holidays and experiences.
Today, Original Travel’s team of 50 has travelled to over 160 countries on fact finding missions and created nearly 50,000 bespoke itineraries.
Voyageurs du Monde has acquired a 60 per cent stake in Original Travel by acquiring the shares of all non-employee shareholders in Original Travel, including those held by private equity company Hotbed.
The remaining 40 per cent interest will continue to be held by Original Travel’s existing management team, which includes two of Original Travel’s founders, Nick Newbury and Tom Barber, along with Neill Ghosh, director of sales and service.
Newbury said: “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.”