Bidder from down under comes up top as Webjet buys JacTravel for £200m

Lucy White
Top London Hotels
JacTravel has a portfolio of over 10,000 directly contracted hotels (Source: Getty)

Online travel agency Webjet has landed a deal to buy business-to-business (B2B) travel provider JacTravel for £200m.

The Australian-headquartered trade buyer has taken JacTravel off the hands of London-based private equity house Vitruvian Partners, which bought the business in 2014 for £80m.

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JacTravel is a B2B hotel accommodation wholesaler, and also provides tailored tours to groups visiting the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe.

“Since its foundation over 40 years ago, JacTravel has been an innovator in the travel industry,” said Vitruvian partner Ben Johnson.

“The management team’s leadership and vision over the past three years has continued this ethos as JacTravel has used technology to drive growth and enter new markets.”

JacTravel has a portfolio of over 10,000 directly contracted hotels and an aggregated portfolio of 170,000 properties worldwide.

It serves customers in 92 countries and handles 1.3m bookings annually, with a global distribution network of 20,000 travel partners.

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Vitruvian has helped it grow its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) from £10m in 2014 to more than £19m at the time of sale, partly by bolting on European competitor TotalStay Group and establishing new offices in Beijing and Orlando.

Webjet has a history of hoovering up smaller companies to help it expand. In 2013 it acquired Zuji in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, although it has since sold on the latter two branches, and a year later it added the SunHotels Group in Europe.

Last year it scooped up former rival Online Republic, which strengthened its presence in the car rentals and cruise industry and expanded its offering to motorhome rental.

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