|Travelopia brands up for sale....|
Europe's biggest tour operator TUI has picked advisers to launch the sale of specialist holiday arm Travelopia in a deal potentially worth 500-600 million euros ($557-$669 million).
TUI has (according to Reuters) instructed Citigroup to find a buyer for Travelopia, which comprises over 50 brands offering specialist luxury, adventure and education holidays. Travelopia contains brands such as Hayes & Jarvis, which focuses on luxury holidays, adventure company Exodus and polar expeditions company Quark.
TUI confirmed the mandate, while Citi declined to comment.
The auction, in which the business will be marketed to private equity groups as well as some other specialist travel groups, is set to start in the coming weeks, insiders added.
TUI previously said it planned to start marketing Travelopia in the autumn and the unit's head was quoted last week by Travel Weekly as saying he hoped to close a deal in early 2017. The unit has annual revenue of 1.5 billion euros and earnings before interest, tax and amortization of 48 million euros.
Market sources expect TUI to ask for bids valuing the business at 10-12 times forecast core earnings of about 50 million euros.
TUI Group CEO Fritz Joussen has said the group is selling because the specialist brands don't use the TUI brand, IT, hotels, cruise ships or planes, meaning the opportunities for mutual savings and benefits are limited. TUI will keep hold of the Crystal Ski and Thomson Lakes & Mountains brands, which help to fill its planes in the winter season.
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aerospace & Incident Management Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com