Certares, Knighthead raise $1.5bn fund to invest in Covid-hammered travel, leisure sectors

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Travel, tourism and hospitality investment specialist Certares Management has teamed with credit investor Knighthead Capital to close a $1.5bn fund to capitalise on post-Covid opportunities.

The pair were hoping to raise $1bn for CK Opportunities Fund, which will look to provide capital solutions for travel, tourism and hospitality companies facing acute liquidity and financing needs.

CK was raised entirely virtually in six months, and has already been used to commit about $500m across four deals.

They include Azul Brazilian Airlines, LATAM Airlines Group, Mystic Invest Holdings and Hertz Global Holdings.

Tom Wagner, co-founder & Managing Member of Knighthead, said, “In our experience, there is always a sector at the center of every distressed cycle.

“In this case, it is clearly travel and leisure, and we are privileged to partner with the preeminent sponsor in the sector.

“While the broader public markets have recovered, there is a long tail of opportunities in the private market that seek capital after a year of severely reduced travel volumes.”

Greg O’Hara, founder and senior managing director of Certares, added, “We are thrilled to partner with Knighthead, and believe the combination of their world-class distressed credit capabilities with our travel sector expertise creates a truly differentiated fund offering to address the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity set that has emerged in the travel sector due to Covid-19.

“While the path back to ‘normal’ will be uneven and challenging, we here at Certares have seen firsthand that the travel industry is incredibly resilient and no stranger to disruption and change.

“We are confident the industry will not only return, evidenced by robust pent-up demand, but reinvent itself to be stronger than before.”

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