Sailing the high seas: Bridgepoint Development Capital has just created Europe's largest online cruise travel agency as Cruise.co buys Germany's Kreuzfahrtberater for €25m

 
Lucy White
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BDC has owned Cruise.co for around a year

Private equity firm Bridgepoint Development Capital (BDC) has just sailed away with Europe's largest online cruise travel agency.

The firm's portfolio company Cruise.co has agreed to acquire Germany's Kreuzfahrtberater in a deal worth €25m (£22.33m), creating a combined company with cruise sales of around €250m.

BDC is banking on a major expansion in the cruise market over the next few years, with a total of 65 new ships set to enter the market. Virgin and hotel group Ritz Carlton have also recently announced they will make debuts in the space.

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“Both [Cruise.co and Kreuzfahrtberater] share a passion for the sector, have great staff and the technology required to deliver great service,” said Cruise.co chief executive Seamus Conlon.

“This transaction allows us to diversify our business by moving into a new large cruising market and represents a major step forward in Cruise.co achieving its strategic aim of becoming the leading pan-European cruise online travel agency.”

The UK ocean cruise market totalled 1.89m passengers in 2016, while the German market boasted 2.02m.

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BDC has owned Cruise.co for around a year, having paid £52m for the company. The business was formed 10 years ago when Seamus Conlon led a management buyout from Miami-based cruise company Carnival Corporation in 2007, when its turnover was £18m.

Kreuzfahrtberater is particularly strong in its technology offering, and has more than 60 staff. Its three founders will reinvest significantly in the combined business.

The new company will operate four websites – Cruise.co.uk, Cruises.uk, Kreuzfahrtberater.de and Seascanner.com – which together will have combined annual traffic of more than 37.5m visits.

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