September 2018

  • Client : Neilson Active Holidays
  • Activity : Activity holiday company
  • Sector : Consumer & Retail
  • Acquired by: LDC

What our client said

“Cavendish worked hard and achieved an excellent result for stakeholders. I would certainly recommend their services.”

Luke Johnson, Chairman of Risk Capital and Director of Neilson

Cavendish Corporate Finance advised the shareholders of Neilson Active Holidays (“Neilson”), the leading provider of overseas active holidays, on its investment by mid-market private equity investor, LDC, to support the management team’s expansion strategy.

Neilson, which was backed by Risk Capital Partners, the private equity firm founded by Luke Johnson, offers a range of award-winning, activity-focussed holidays across seven countries in Europe where it operates beachclubs, ski hotels and chalets and 65 yachts, exclusively for its guests who number some 80,000 every year.

In recent years Neilson has successfully capitalised on the increasing demand for activity and wellness holidays at the premium end of the market. This investment will enable the business to accelerate growth through the opening of new hotels to extend the range of countries in which the business operates as well as providing further backing for strategic acquisitions. With revenues of £80m, Neilson is a highly profitable business that is primed for further growth.

As part of the deal, LDC’s Richard Whitwell and David Bains will join the board. The transaction provides an exit for Risk Capital Partners.

Cavendish Corporate Finance, which advised Neilson’s shareholders, has an extensive track record in the consumer and travel sectors. Recent high-profile deals include advising on the sales of Scott Dunn luxury travel to Inflexion Private Equity, Tristar Worldwide luxury chauffeur operator to Addison Lee, and OKA, the UK-based luxury interiors company, to Investindustrial.

The Cavendish team was led by Jonathan Buxton, Partner and Head of Consumer at Cavendish, and Jon Edirmanasinghe, Partner

Jonathan Buxton said: “We are delighted to have advised Risk Capital and the Neilson management team and to have found in LDC the right investor to take Neilson on to its next stage of growth. The sale of Neilson builds on our growing record in both the UK travel sector and private equity transactions.”

Jon Edirmanasinghe commented: “The UK travel sector has proved to be very buoyant and Neilson represents a niche asset with significant potential in the attractive activity holiday market. We were pleased to establish a competitive sale process, which included overseas trade buyers alongside UK and international private equity investors. I wish the team all the best for the future.”

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