Private equity firm Livingbridge has purchased a majority stake in Loveholidays.
The two groups announced the deal on Tuesday (May 30), stating the deal would allow the business to further expand in the UK and internationally.
Livingbridge says it will continue to work with the existing Loveholidays senior management team who will remain with the business, led by founders Alex Francis and Jonny Marsh.
Said Francis: “This investment is great news for our business and we are delighted Livingbridge is investing in the next stage on our really exciting journey and will enable us to drive the business further forwards.
"We have seen significant growth since we founded Loveholidays in 2012 and will continue to offer our customers the great choice and booking flexibility for short and long haul beach holidays that they have grown to love.”
Daniel Smith, Livingbridge partner, added: “Having known Alex and his team for years, we’re thrilled to be partnering with them. With an experienced and ambitious management team, best-in-class technology platform and a disruptive customer proposition, Loveholidays is an incredibly exciting travel business with a fantastic future ahead.”
Marsh added: “Livingbridge are very experienced investors in this sector with a proven track record having backed Enigma Travel, On the Beach and Travel Jigsaw and we are excited to be working with them.
"The market is growing with online dynamic packaged holidays accounting for £3bn of holiday spend in 2017 and we are well placed with this additional investment to drive further growth.”
Loveholidays, Britain’s fast-growing OTA, is licensed to carry 804,618 UK passengers this year.
In April 2018, it became the UK’s sixth-largest Atol holder, having more than doubled its capacity since 2016.
Loveholidays was set up in 2012 by founders Alex Francis and Jonny Marsh and reported turnover of £23,219,535 in the year ending October 2016.
Livingbridge also invested in On The Beach in 2007, helping the company grow sales from £78 million that year to £280 million in 2013, before it was sold again to another private equity firm.
In 2014, Livingbridge invested £54 million in Sykes Cottages.
Loveholidays’ head office is based in Hammersmith, with a call centre in Worthing. It also has a homeworking arm.
The OTA has had financial backing from several well-known investors, including: John Hays, managing director of Hays Travel; Dermot Blastland, former Tui UK and Ireland managing director; Roger Flynn, formerly of British Airways, the Virgin group and the BBC; and David Scowsill, former president and chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Loveholidays was ranked in the top 10 in the Sunday Times’ “Fast Track 100” list for the second year running in 2017, in recognition of its fast-growing sales.