Secret Escapes continues its acquisition spree. The question is what comes next: Will it opt for an IPO or might a buyer be waiting in the wings?
Travel deals specialist Secret Escapes Group has agreed to buy the owner of Irish rival Pigsback.com for an undisclosed amount.
The acquisition of Empathy Marketing Limited will see Secret Escapes expand its operations in Ireland. It follows a slew of other deals across Europe, including most recently the assets of bankrupt Amsterdam-based TravelBird.
Secret escapes is partnering with private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners to fund the deal.
According to its most recent set of accounts, Secret Escapes generated annual revenue of $95 million (£73.2 million) on gross bookings worth $523 million (£403 million.) Like most fast-expanding companies, it made an overall loss, which in calendar-year 2017, totalled $19.1 million (£14.7 million.)
The management team running Pigsback.com and the other Empathy Marketing brands will continue in their roles. The company reported revenue of $6.5 million (€5.7 million) in 2017 with an operating profit of $1.1 million (€1 million.)
“We are delighted to be acquiring Empathy Marketing Limited. We have long been impressed by the quality of the brand and the strength of its position in the highly attractive Irish market,” said Alex Saint, co-founder and CEO of Secret Escapes Group.
“Pigsback.com and EML’s other brands are highly complementary to our existing businesses and we see the potential for their continued growth as part of the Group, as we continue to strengthen and expand our international presence.”
The deal is scheduled to complete this month.
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Photo credit: Two of Secret Escapes' co-founders Alex Saint (left) and Tom Valentine. The company is buying an Irish rival. Secret Escapes