August 15, 2016 | Deals

GCA Altium advises management shareholders on the sale of CRUISE.co.uk to Bridgepoint Development Capital

GCA Altium acted as exclusive financial advisor to the management shareholders of CRUISE.co.uk, the UK's leading cruise agent, on its sale to Bridgepoint Development Capital.

The management team of CRUISE.co.uk, led by Seamus Conlon (CEO) and Steve Bacon (CFO) have acquired the business in a secondary management buyout backed by Bridgepoint Development Capital.

Originally part of Carnival Corporation from which it spun out in 2007, CRUISE.co.uk is based in the Midlands, employs 170 people and is the leading online player in its space thanks to a strongly differentiated proposition, its content driven website and highly personal customer service. It also has a market-leading social media presence and online cruise review forum with over 110,000 members and 17 million web visits per annum.

The business has demonstrated strong growth, delivering sales and EBITDA CAGR of 23% and 30% respectively over the last three years. In 2015 turnover grew by 15% to £105 million and is on course to reach £120 million in 2016. The company also enjoys industry leading repeat rates of business, making it a strategically important partner for the cruise operators.

Seamus Conlon, CRUISE.co.uk’s CEO, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Bridgepoint as a new partner and shareholder to help us take our business forward in its next stage of development. Their financial and operational expertise will power our ambitions, particularly as we look to expand internationally. GCA Altium provided us with invaluable help and guidance throughout the sale process and secured an excellent outcome for the management team. Their deep sector expertise, combined with extensive transaction experience helped us navigate through every step of the sale process.”

Christopher Jones, Managing Director at GCA Altium, added: “It has been an absolute pleasure to advise Seamus, Steve and the management team on this high profile transaction. In just a few years the management team have created a clear UK market leader in the fast growing cruise sector, and in BDC they have found a partner that shares their global growth ambitions. We have every confidence that the business will continue to thrive over the coming years.”

This transaction adds to GCA Altium’s extensive track record in the Travel sector, having recently advised Living Bridge on its acquisition of Direct Ferries, Hotelplan on its acquisition of Explore Worldwide, Golfbreaks.com on the sale of Teeofftimes.co.uk to GolfNow and Inflexion on its acquisition of Scott Dunn.

The deal also marks GCA Altium’s 50th deal in Europe in the last twelve months, cementing our position as a leading corporate finance advisor in Europe.

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