3i sells Page & Moy to Travelsphere

01 Dec 2004

3i, Europe's leading private equity and venture capital company, today announces that it is selling its investment in Leicester-based Page & Moy Ltd, the UK's leading independent tour operator and travel agent selling package holidays and cruises, to Travelsphere Limited, one of the top three direct sell UK tour operators.  3i originally invested £1.6 million in Page & Moy in 1993, in a management buy out from Barclays.

Page & Moy was founded in 1962 and has grown to employ some 380 staff in its Leicester offices.  Page & Moy is one of the UK's leading operators to Hawaii and China and has extensive experience of organising event-led cultural tours, reader holidays and motor racing holidays.  Today, more people travel to Grand Prix events around the world with Page & Moy than with any other company. 

Established in 1977, Travelsphere provides tours to over 80 countries worldwide, including China, the Far East, USA and Europe, marketing to a database of over 2 million addresses.  Travelsphere received a significant investment from HgCapital four years ago.

The two companies will continue to function under their separate brands while benefiting from considerable economies of scale through joint purchasing and marketing.  The combined business will form the UK's largest direct-sell overseas escorted holiday provider for the 45+ age group, with sales of some £175 million.

Richard Bishop, 3i Director, commented: "In 1993, 3i backed Page & Moy's management team due to its proven experience in the sector and its commitment and determination in developing the business.  Since then, we have worked with the management team and Rick Wills, whom we introduced as non-executive director, to help steer the company's growth strategy.  This transaction offers a good opportunity for us to realise our investment and allows Page & Moy to continue to grow and benefit from being part of a larger organisation.  We wish the management team every success for the future."

Jeremy Sharman, Director at HgCapital, commented: "We are delighted to have contributed to the success of the acquisition, which positions the Travelsphere Group, ahead of Saga, as the UK's largest provider of escorted tours for the over 45s.  The business serves the fastest-growing age group of the UK population, who are increasingly adventurous in their appetite for travel to overseas destinations." 

The 3i deal team was led by Ian Downing, investment director.  Page & Moy was advised by KPMG Corporate Finance and Eversheds.  3i was advised by Wragge & Co.  Travelsphere was advised by Rothschild and Howes Percival. 

Notes to editors

About 3i
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital.  We focus on buyouts, growth capital and venture capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific.  Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.

3i has invested in several local travel operators, including Sunway Travel and Wallace Arnold.  In October, 3i sold Canvas Holidays, the UK's third largest camping tour operator, to Cendant Corporation, a US real estate, financial and travel services company, in a deal worth £27m.
www.3i.com

About HgCapital 
HgCapital is a leading, sector-focused investor in the European private equity market and has offices in the UK, Germany and Holland.  It focuses on companies with enterprise values up to €400 million.

HgCapital's other investments within the leisure industry have included:

  • Hoseasons - self-catering holidays
  • Sunsail International - sailing holidays
  • Club 18-30 - holidays
  • Belfast International Airport - airport operator
  • CityFlyer Express - short-haul airline

HgCapital invests in consumer, healthcare, industrials, leisure, media and technology sectors.  Each sector is served by a dedicated team of investors.  HgCapital also invests in renewable energy projects.  HgCapital services over 200 institutional clients and manages HgCapital Trust plc, an investment trust listed on the London Stock Exchange that participates in all of HgCapital's investments.  HgCapital has funds under management of €1.3 billion.

For further information, visit www.hgcapital.net.  HgCapital is the trading name of Hg Investment Managers Limited and Hg Pooled Management Limited. Registered office: Third Floor, Minerva House, 3-5 Montague Close, London SE1 9BB.  Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.