Private equity firm backs Travel Counsellors
Private equity firm Equistone has taken a stake in Bolton-based leisure group Travel Counsellors, which has a turnover of £115m.
The backing from Equistone will allow the business to bolster its international buying power and potential for further overseas expansion.
Travel Counsellors will continue to be led by managing director Steve Byrne and founder David Speakman will remain as chairman. Equistone partners Steve O’Hare and Joyce Church will join the board of the company as non-executive directors.
"It has always been my intention to ensure the long term interests of the company and make Travel Counsellors even stronger for the benefit of each individual agent and their customers," said Speakman.
"We have partnered with Equistone as they buy into our proven business model, culture and ethos, and we look forward to an extremely promising future as a global travel company that puts its customers first."
Travel Counsellors was established when Speakman, who had already built up a chain of travel agents across the North West, recognised there was a gap in the market for people to book their holidays over the phone.
And rather than centrally locating its selling agents, he decided that they too would also be based at home meaning the company's overheads would be significantly lower. It now employs 250 staff and has more than 1,300 agents based internationally.
Steve Byrne said the business would use the investment and partnership with Equistone to "take the company to yet another level". He added: "This expansion will further bolster our global buying power and strengthen our position as the market-leading travel company for personal service, to the benefit of our agents globally."
Rothschild and Addleshaw Goddard advised Travel Counsellors on the transaction.
Equistone was advised by Deloitte, while Pinsent Masons provided legal advice. Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking provided a package of senior debt and working capital facilities. PwC provided financial due diligence, and commercial due diligence was provided by LEK Consulting.