Cruise.co's mix of reviews and vacations has helped fuel its rise. Its private equity owners obviously want it to get even bigger and to do so it needs to buy up the competition.
The deal will reportedly give the combined company cruise sales of around $295 million (€250 million) with combined annual traffic of 37.5 million visits.
The rise in cruise holidays has fueled growth at Cruise.co — which also features reviews, news, and guides — resulting in a number of investments by private equity firms. Part of its success is down to its combination of sales and reviews. Last year Bridgepoint Development Capital paid $68.7 million (£52 million) for the company.
One of Cruise.co’s biggest competitors on the reviews side is TripAdvisor-owned Cruise Critic.
Kreuzfahrtberater.de is based in the German town of Ahrensburg. It also runs the website Seascanner.com. Founders Friedrich Koester, Malte Koester and Andreas Koester-Clobes will stay on at the combined business.
Cruise.co was carved out of Carnival Corporation in 2007 as part of a management buyout led by founder Andrew Gardner and then-managing director Seamus Conlon.
According to its most recent set of accounts published at Companies House for the year ending November 30, 2015, parent company Cruise.co (Holdings) Ltd made a pre-tax profit of $1.3 million (£990,000) on a turnover of $48 million (£36.3 million).
Conlon, now the Cruise.co chief executive, said: “Both companies share a passion for the sector, have great staff and the technology required to deliver great service. This transaction allows us to diversify our business by moving into a new large cruising market and represents a major step forward in Cruise.co achieving its strategic aim of becoming the leading pan-European cruise online travel agency.”
Friedrich Koester, founder of Kreuzfahrtberater.de, said: “We have chosen Cruise.co and Bridgepoint as partners to drive consolidation in the market and grow our business more strongly. Together with our fantastic team we are excited to broaden our product offering and share knowledge with our new UK colleagues.”
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Photo credit: UK-based online travel agent Cruise.co has paid $29.5 million for the German rival Kreuzfahrtberater.de. Pictured here is Britannia, the newest ship from the UK's P&O Cruises. P&O Cruises