Manchester-based online travel agency On The Beach is planning international expansion after Inflexion Private Equity bought a majority stake for £73 million.
The much-anticipated buyout is the latest in a spate of private equity investment in travel firms, with Skyscanner and Cruise.co.uk recently attracting funding.
On The Beach has been looking for new owners for the past year. The majority stake had been owned by Isis Equity Partners since 2007.
Chief executive Simon Cooper said he now plans to kick off an international expansion drive.
On The Beach recently launched a Scandinavian website and unveiled plans to create German and Dutch sites.
The company will also expand its long-haul offering, starting with Dubai, with plans to add the Far East and the Caribbean.
Cooper said: “We feel Inflexion is the right partner for our business, with their proven track record of working with businesses to grow both domestically and internationally, as well as their experience in the online retail sector.”
Non-executive director Dermot Blastland and chairman John Donaldson have stepped down following the deal.
Blastland said: “It’s an OTA that is seeing good growth, survived the ash crisis and Arab Spring, and has very good technology. European OTAs still have a high cost base so On The Beach will have a competitive advantage.”
Simon Turner, managing partner at Inflexion, said: “We’ll support On The Beach to grow the business in the UK, explore opportunities for international expansion and ensure the business is digitally optimised.”
Based in Cheadle, On The Beach sells more than 900,000 holidays a year.
The existing management team will remain with the business.
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