Growth Capital Partners invests in Iglu.com in £19m deal

Livingstone’s Consumer sector team has successfully advised the shareholders of Iglu.com on the sale of the business to the management team backed by Growth Capital Partners, in a deal valued at £19m. In 2009, Livingstone advised management in a recapitalisation which was financed by Matrix Private Equity Partners LLP. This latest deal provides an exit for Matrix whilst enabling Iglu to continue to expand the business into Europe with GCP’s support.

Iglu was founded in 1998 by CEO Richard Downs, initially focusing on skiing holidays. It quickly became the UK’s leading retailer of packaged ski holidays and, in 2006, the company saw an opportunity to enter the UK cruise retail market. Iglu is now the largest online cruise agent in the UK. The company employs 130 people and achieved sales of over £90 million in the year to 31 May 2012, an increase of 130 per cent since 2009.

Richard Downs, CEO at Iglu said: “It has long been my ambition to take the Iglu brand into Europe and the partnership with GCP will help make this a reality. This is the second time that we have worked with Livingstone after they helped us recapitalise the Business in 2009. Despite external headwinds during the process such as the Costa Concorda and an ongoing Eurozone crisis, the Livingstone team worked tirelessly to deliver an excellent result for the shareholders and the management team. They ran a focused, professional and ultimately very successful process.”

Simon Jobson, Partner at GCP commented: “Iglu has capitalised brilliantly on the huge increase in the popularity of online travel, especially in the ski and cruise sectors. Our flexible funding will give Iglu the support it needs to become a leader in the European travel market, including the relatively underdeveloped online market in Germany. There is also potential for some of our capital to fund future acquisitions.”

James Lever, Partner at Livingstone London added: “We are delighted to have worked again with the Iglu team in helping to secure the next stage of its expansion, and believe that its position as UK online market leader in cruise and ski will provide it with the experience and expertise to grow its business model into international markets.”


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