French resort operator Compagnie des Alpes (CDA) has taken a 73 percent equity stake in Travelfactory, which offers vacation rentals and group ski trips via several brands, such as Travelski.

The value of the transaction was not disclosed. The deal enables the company to take full control within four years.

Last year, Travelfactory had sales of about $41 million, or about €35 million, the company said. It processed about $100 million, or €85 million, in transactions, and employed 130 people.

Founded in 2000, Travelfactory has three main brands: Travelski, an online agency that specializes in ski holidays; Locatour, a tour operator; and Golden Voyages, a millennial-focused agency.

Vertical Lift

Ski operators fear that online travel distribution is cutting into their profit margins and separating their relationship with consumers. This deal is an example of an effort by operators to vertically integrate the online booking of tour packages, equipment rentals, and lodging into one offering they control.

Dominique Marcel, Chairman and CEO of CDA, said: “The acquisition of Travelfactory will help us accelerate our development in the integrated distribution of ski holidays, which is in line with our ambition of being able to act directly on the resort occupancy rate.”

Travelfactory also runs other online tour operator and ski rental brands and it has 13 real estate agencies in ski resorts in France, which operate under the brand names Ski et Soleil and Alpes For You.

CDA is the largest operator of ski resorts worldwide, with an emphasis on locations in the French Alps.

It reported total revenues of $910 million, or €762 million, in the year ending September 30, 2017.

Separately, it is looking to draw more business from Chinese tourists and to tap into China’s growing domestic ski tourism. It said it is in talks with Chinese investment group Fosun, which already controls French holiday group Club Med, to be a potential co-owner of Travelfactory and to invest in other joint ventures, too.

Yet French resort areas are concerned about foreign investment in their communities, which has led to political pressure against such deals.

Photo Credit: Val d’Isère is one the French resorts best known to foreign skiers and is owned by Compagnie des Alpes, which has now taken a majority stake in online booking group Travelfactory. Compagnie des Alpes