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Travelstart to pick up Club Travel
Posted on Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:32
Travelstart is buying South African online travel agency Club Travel Group from Thebe Tourism Holdings for an undisclosed sum.

Closing of the deal remains subject to the approval of the competition commission.

Travelstart, which is backed by Amadeus Capital Partners and Harbour Vest, will also jointly invest in the target’s division Club Travel Corporate with Thebe Tourism.

Established in 1987, Club Travel provides a range of travel services and its portfolio includes over 400 branded and non-branded franchises.

The deal is part of Travelstart’s strategy to continue its growth across Africa.

Furthermore, the transaction will allow the buyer to expand its services through the addition of Club Travel’s corporate and franchise divisions.

The news of an acquisition comes amid another potentially major deal in the travel market, as Thomas Cook confirmed yesterday it was in discussions with Fosun International regarding a possible offer.

Stephan Ekbergh, chief executive of the purchaser, said: “Travelstart is strong in the consumer segment and we want to bring consumerisation to the corporate and government sectors, where Club Travel is an emerging star.”

As a result of the transaction, the purchaser’s customer base will increase and the target will gain the expertise needed to deliver digital product innovation and remain competitive in the travel industry.

Jerry Mabena, chief executive of Thebe Tourism, noted: “The deal is a response to the changes in travel in Southern Africa as consumer and corporate travel markets increasingly favour technology-driven solutions.”

Upon closing, Club Travel will continue to operate as a standalone company within Travelstart’s portfolio.

Founded in 1999 as Sweden’s first online travel agency, Travelstart has 200 employees with offices across Africa and the Middle East.

According to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau Van Dijk, there have been 102 deals targeting travel agencies providers announced worldwide since the beginning of 2019.

In the largest of these, and the only transaction to surpass the USD 1.00 billion-barrier, Ctrip.International agreed to buy a 42.5 per cent stake in Mauritius-based MakeMyTrip for USD 1.41 billion.

Other targets include Go Voyages, Selina Operation One and Megaplus.

© Zephus Ltd