05 Jun 2018 | 10:00 am | 1 min. read
International law firm Pinsent Masons LLP has advised Equistone Partners Europe and management on the sale of Travel Counsellors through a secondary buyout to Vitruvian Partners.
Travel Counsellors was founded in 1994 by travel entrepreneur David Speakman, and has expanded to include international operations in Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Australia and the UAE. In October 2014, Equistone backed a management buy-out of the business led by CEO Steve Byrne. Since then, the business has continued to experience rapid growth, with annual total transaction values growing by £130m to £512m. Statutory turnover and profit have also seen strong growth over the period, growing by an average of 17 per cent and over 20 per cent per annum respectively.
From its global headquarters in Manchester, the company operates a franchisee model, with more than 1,800 self-employed Travel Counsellors working flexibly from home. This model is underpinned by the company’s proprietary technology platform, Phenix, which assists each Travel Counsellor to run their business and deliver high levels of personal service to both its leisure and business customers.
In 2017, the company was awarded the Best Customer Focus Award in the UK National Business Awards, and has been named in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track six times, including in each of the last three years.
The Pinsent Masons team was led by Corporate Partners Gregg Davison and Amie Norris assisted by Lisa Early and Sarah-Louise Baird, with support from colleagues in the firm’s Australia, South Africa, Republic of Ireland and UAE offices. Corporate Partner Ed Stead and Associate Adam Murphy advised management on their reinvestment.
Gregg Davison commented "It has been a privilege to advise Equistone and the management team on this sale process, having advised Equistone on their investment in 2014. We wish Steve and the rest of the management all the best for the next stage of their journey with their new partners, Vitruvian".
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