Team at Equistone lands first investment

The former private equity division of high street bank Barclays has completed its first investment since the firm became Equistone Partners Europe.

Equistone Partners Europe has closed its first deal since its November management led a buy-out of the firm and re-branded it from Barclays Private Equity.

The mid-market private equity investor has taken a stake in Oxfordshire-based Audley Travel for an undisclosed amount.

Travel business Audley Travel provides what it describes as ‘tailor-made’ holidays based on the expert advice of countries around the world.

As part of the deal, founders of the business Craig Burkinshaw and John Brewer will remain on the board and be joined by incoming chairman Richard Prosser. The current senior management team is also staying with the business.

Burkinshaw comments, ‘John and I have enjoyed building Audley Travel over the last 15 years. We are poised to explore a range of opportunities and are committed to continue to deliver exceptional travel experiences to our customers.’

For the year to date December 2010, Audley travel reported revenues of £63 million, up by 17 per cent from the £54 million posted during 2009. The funding gained through the transaction will be used to invest in products, operations and the company’s team.

Phil Griesbach, director at Equistone, says that Audley Travel stands out as a highly differentiated business.

He adds, ‘The business has a great team and a strong business model. It is well positioned as a leader in its sector which has proved to be resilient to the current economic climate.’

In December Equistone achieved its first exit since its change from Barclays Private Equity through the sale of after-the-event insurance provider Firstassist Legal Assistance for £28 million.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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Private Equity