Over 55s tour operator Riviera Travel changes private equity hands for over £200m

 
Lucy White
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Riviera offers European tour holidays, river and ocean cruises, city breaks, and long-haul tours (Source: Getty)

Riviera Travel has continued its journey across the private equity seas today, as Phoenix Equity Partners sold the over-55s tour operator to Silverfleet Capital in a deal that put its value at more than £200m.

Burton-on-Trent based Riviera first caught Phoenix's eye in 2014, when the firm supported a management buyout led by the business's chief executive David Clemson.

Since then, earnings have risen around 80 per cent as Phoenix has encouraged the business to grow its direct-to-consumer channel, add new products and expand internationally.

Read more: European tour holidays, river and ocean cruises, city breaks, and long-haul tours

It now offers European tour holidays, river and ocean cruises, city breaks, and long-haul tours to more than 50 countries, attracting more than 118,000 customers per year.

Silverfleet plans to increase the river cruise capacity by investing in new ships, and expand the US customer base.

“Riviera is a high quality, well-established business with a strong brand and value proposition," said Silverfleet's Gareth Whiley.

"Silverfleet has long been attracted to the travel sector and the growing demographic that Riviera serves."

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Silverfleet has not been the only firm focusing more attention on the ageing population. So far this year, Phoenix has sold Porthaven Care Homes and Key Retirement Group.

UK private equity activity overall has also been strong in 2017. Statistics released today from the Centre for Management Buyout Research found that deal value in the UK had almost doubled over the year, while the value of companies sold was also

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