Voyageurs du Monde Acquires 60% Strategic Stake In Original Travel

LONDON, January 9, 2017

Voyageurs du Monde, France’s leading tailor-made travel company, is pleased to announce it has made a significant strategic investment in acquiring a 60% stake in Original Travel, one of the UK’s fastest growing 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, multi-award winning Original Travel has achieved six times revenue growth since 2007. In 2016 revenue grew more than 20% to £15m, 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 S.A. is listed on the Euronext and is currently trading around its all-time high, with a market capitalisation of c.€260m. In 2015 the company reported revenue of €362m and EBITDA of €21m. 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. These range from Big Short Breaks through to lengthy sabbaticals, such as an 18-month long grand tour of the globe which wove together 92 itineraries, including learning to photograph snow leopards in Ladakh and diving South Africa’s famous Sardine Run.

Transaction details

Voyageurs du Monde has acquired a 60% 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% 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.

Customer benefits

Original Travel will be adding further to its “Life is in the Detail” proposition over the coming weeks, building on the services offered by Voyageurs du Monde: for example, Original Travel will have access to Voyageurs du Monde’s team of English-speaking concierges, which are located locally across the entirety of its international network. The Concierge service will give Original Travel’s clients another local helping hand to further enhance their holidays, in addition to the UK-based office assistance and 24/7 emergency service it currently offers alongside its on-the-ground teams in each of its destinations.