Matrix has invested £4.3m in the management buyout and recapitalisation of Iglu.com, the UK’s largest specialist ski and fastest growing cruise holiday travel agent.
The small buyout market is open for business for Matrix Private Equity Partners (Matrix) which just has completed its second new investment in 4 days – its fifth deal since the summer!
Matrix has invested £4.3m in the management buyout and recapitalisation of Iglu.com, the UK’s largest specialist ski and fastest growing cruise holiday travel agent. Matrix provided both the equity and the debt for the transaction.
Iglu.com founder and managing director, Richard Downs, identified the potential for an internet travel agency specialising in ski holidays in 1998. In 2005Iglu.com entered the cruise holiday sector, where it saw a growing niche market that lacked specialist, independent agents and a high quality online offer.
Mark Wignall, chief executive of Matrix Private Equity Partners said: “Amidst a dearth of M&A activity the small buyout market wheel keeps on turning. Businesses in the UK need the funding to grow and MPEP is finding that there is huge opportunity within the small buyout space, having completed three investments and two exits since the summer.”
Guy Blackburn at Matrix who led the deal, commented: “MPEP specialises in backing quality companies with quality management teams. We invested in Iglu.com because it is solid and cash generative, with a strong management team that have a successful track record of building a profitable, niche business.
“Already very successful in the ski market, Iglu.com is increasing market share in the high growth cruise sector due to its unrivalled, high quality service and fast sustainable growth. It is now one of the top 10 cruise providers in the UK.”
Richard Downs commented: “There was significant interest in our business from both trade and private equity. We chose Matrix because of their collegiate approach and for their pragmatic, strategic advice. It is also for this reason that substantially all of our existing investors have decided to retain some level of shareholding in the business. We all look forward to developing Iglu.com to its full potential in the next few years.”
Based in Wimbledon, South London, Iglu.com employs more than 95 people. Iglu.com’s cruise sales have doubled year on year and this growth looks set to continue. Overall, repeat businesses and referrals from satisfied customers, plus an increasing share of the growing cruise market, are helping Iglu.com secure total sales of £45m this year, up from £38m last year.
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