November 11, 2019 | Deals

GCA Altium advises Travelopia on the divestiture of its North American Experience Education brands

GCA Altium acted as exclusive financial advisor to Travelopia, one of the world’s leading specialist travel groups, on the sale of its North American Experience Education brands (NAEE) to WorldStrides. GCA Altium previously advised the management team of Travelopia on its 2017 acquisition by KKR from TUI Plc. 

Travelopia, headquartered in the UK, provides customers with unique experiences, such as sailing adventures, tailor-made holidays, sports tours, school expeditions, private jet travel and polar expedition cruises. Travelopia has a large, international customer base of over 800,000 travellers each year and serves over 70 destinations globally through over 50 brands. Its NAEE business provides once-in-a-lifetime educational and performance-based tours to students across the United States and Canada. 

WorldStrides provides educational travel and experiences to more than 400,000 students a year. Founded in 1967, the company has since grown to become a leader in experiential learning for students of all ages throughout their lifetime learning journey. In addition to domestic and international travel and study abroad programs, WorldStrides’ offerings include performing arts, sports, career exploration, language immersion, and service-learning. Each of these experiences helps students to see beyond the classroom and to see the world – and themselves – in new ways.  

The brands sold to WorldStrides include World Class Vacations and Brightspark US, serving the US educational market, and Brightspark Canada, Jumpstreet and Educatours in Canada. The brands are leading providers in the sector with excellent customer satisfaction scores. Collectively, they deliver a full spectrum of out-of-classroom, developmental, educational travel experiences. 

The acquisition will enable WorldStrides to expand its broad travel program offerings for music, theatre and dance groups, and will enhance its teacher-led, curriculum-based tour offerings globally. The brands will continue to operate under separate brand names with discrete programming options.

Andy Duncan, Travelopia CEO, said: “The NAEE brands are excellent businesses with a strong track record of delivering exceptional developmental travel experiences to students, which fits perfectly within the WorldStrides portfolio. Our strategy under KKR ownership is to become the world’s best experiential travel company by focussing on a select number of brands in the Travelopia Group and the sale of these brands is a further step forward towards this ambition. I am delighted for the team as they continue their growth story with WorldStrides. We thank them for their hard work and wish them the best of luck under their new ownership.”

Christopher Jones, Managing Director at GCA Altium, added: “It has been a pleasure to work with Travelopia again, this time on the sale of the North American Experience Education brands. Each of the brands enjoys a fantastic position in their market and they will complement the existing WorldStrides portfolio well.”

The transaction represents GCA Altium’s 5th travel sector transaction in the last 18 months following on from the sales of Travel Chapter, Tablet Hotels and Hillgate Travel, and advising Vitruvian on the acquisition of Travel Counsellors. 

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