TravelSupermarket enters JV with Yorkshire company
TravelSupermarket has entered a joint venture agreement with Icelolly, a Yorkshire-based travel price comparison site backed by Palatine Private Equity.
The agreement will see the creation of a newly combined holiday comparison business.
TravelSupermarket is the holiday arm of Chester-headquartered Moneysupermarket.com Group, which will remain the major shareholder of the new entity alongside Palatine Private Equity and the senior management team.
Leeds-based Icelolly.com is an online package holidays travel intermediary, specialising in price comparison and deals.
Bosses said the deal will complement TSM’s comparison services for holidays, flights, hotels, car hire and travel ancillaries.
Both brands will be retained, with each benefiting from revenue diversification, shared commercial expertise and greater audience reach.
The transaction is structured as a cash-free exchange with both TSM and Icelolly entering the combined business on a cash and debt-free basis.
No new capital is being invested into the business, although MSMG has agreed a loan note of £4m to fund working capital requirements.
In 2019 the combined revenue for the two brands was around £30m, with 2020 performance significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Icelolly.com brings an experienced senior team from the travel industry to the new joint venture, including CEO Richard Singer who will lead a common management team across both brands.
Completion of the transaction is conditional on the green light from the Competition and Markets Authority.
Peter Duffy, CEO of Moneysupermarket Group, said: “The combination of TravelSupermarket and Icelolly.com will benefit customers of both brands with a richer and more diversified offer as the travel and holiday markets recover.
“As well as unlocking commercial benefits, the creation of a standalone entity under a dedicated management team will give us greater flexibility going forwards to maximise shareholder returns.”
Richard Singer, CEO of Icelolly, said: “Combining the businesses will deliver a better service to both sets of customers.
“Making holiday discovery exciting and simple for everyone and helping holidaymakers to find and save money on their perfect holiday is at the centre of everything which the two brands have done and which the new company will do.
“We will continue to partner with some of the biggest and best travel companies in the UK and roll out more exciting and innovative services to bring a more complete comparison experience to each site”.
Andy Lees, Partner at Palatine, said: “The ethos of the business will continue to have consumers at its heart. Digital innovation and access to a large pool of travel providers will offer customers a more comprehensive and accessible comparison experience”.
Founded in 2005, Icelolly has been backed by Palatine since September 2013.