UK private equity firm Risk Capital Partners has acquired a majority stake in Cruise.co, the owner of the UK’s largest online cruise holiday websites Cruise.co.uk and Cruises.co.uk, making the firm’s first move into the online travel market.
This follows the announcement earlier this week that it has taken a majority holding in UK restaurant chain Red Hot World Buffet.
Luke Johnson, Chairman of Risk Capital Partners, said, “It’s been a significant few days following the completion of both acquisitions and I am delighted that Risk Capital Partners can look forward to shaping the future of both Cruise.co and Red Hot World Buffet. The travel market is an exciting opportunity for us and as more people research online, leading websites have engaged with users and harnessed social media techniques. Cruise.co has a wealth of content in addition to market leading prices. There is a great opportunity to replicate this model into international markets where cruising and online research are growing rapidly.”
Cruise holidays have been the fastest growing leisure market worldwide over the past ten years, with first-time cruisers accounting for 40 per cent of the UK market each year.
Risk Capital Partners said it would provide additional capital to support Cruise.co’s growth ambitions, particularly the Irish and US markets.
Risk Capital Partners was established in 2001 by Luke Johnson and Ben Redmond, and focuses on investing in medium sized companies across a range of industries. It currently owns Patisserie Holdings -the owner of brands such as Patisserie Valerie and Baker & Spice; and Bread Holdings – owner of Gails bakeries. Previous investments in the restaurant space include Giraffe, Signature Restaurants and Strada.
RCP also invests in the support services sector with current investments including APT Controls, Britain’s largest supplier of car park equipment. Previous investments include Integrated Dental Holdings, and recruitment businesses such as Interquest.
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