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Secret Escapes close to buying Empathy: Sky News
Posted on Thursday, 07 February 2019 13:54
Secret Escapes Group, the UK-based online travel operator, is nearing an acquisition of Ireland’s Empathy Marketing, the business behind leisure discounts website Pigsback.com, Sky News reported.

According to the broadcaster, terms of the potential deal were not disclosed at this time; however, an announcement could be made as soon as today.

Secret Escapes is expected to receive backing for the transaction through Searchlight Opportunities Fund, a new credit vehicle that helps fast-growing companies to finance acquisitions, insiders familiar with the matter told Sky News.

Reportedly, Empathy Marketing’s shareholders were informed about the deal yesterday.

The target claims to be a pioneer in the online marketing and research sector since 2000 when Pigsback.com was launched in Ireland.

Empathy Marketing also controls LuxuryBreaks, the DiningRoom and DealRush.

Sky News observed that a deal comes amid a string of takeovers for Secret Escapes as it continues to head towards a stock market flotation in the near future.

The business has operations in 20+ countries across Europe, Asia and North America, counting 62.00 million members, 22.00 million of which are in the UK.

Secret Escapes is on its way to becoming a “unicorn” – a technology company worth at least USD 1.00 billion – the broadcaster observed.

It raised GBP 52.00 million from Old Mutual Global Investors in July last year, after securing USD 111.00 million from Temasek Capital and IDInvest Partners in October 2017.

Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk, shows the group’s last acquisition was announced in November for TravelBird’s activities.

Terms of this deal were not disclosed.

According to Zephyr, there were 351 deals targeting travel agency, tour operator reservation service and related activities groups announced worldwide in 2018.

The largest of these involved Marriott Vacations Worldwide acquiring US-based travel membership and leisure services group ILG for USD 4.70 billion.

© Zephus Ltd