Blue Bay Travel

Knight advised Blue Bay Travel on its £6.5m investment from Lloyds Development Capital

Background

Blue Bay Travel is an award winning luxury online travel business with a unique and powerful proprietary technology platform. The platform has enabled the business to rapidly expand and generate market leading margins.

Knight had a long standing relationship with Stuart Wilson, the CEO and founder of the business, and identified the business had reached a critical point in its development if it was to exploit future growth opportunities.

Process

Knight marketed Bluebay on a twin-track process to a pre-qualified group of trade and institutional investors that had the motivation and resources to enable the existing team to further develop the growth of the business.

After significant R&D, Blue Bay had shifted from lead generation to a full online transaction model which resulted in organic growth of over 50% year on year. Knight’s role was to ensure that the valuation reflected the inherent value in Blue Bay’s unique IP and rapid growth.

Knight worked with management to develop a detailed forecast and business plan together with an information memorandum highlighting the opportunity for an investor / acquirer.

Knight ran a highly competitive marketing process and following significant interest from investors and trade buyers (both overseas and UK headquartered). Knight kept the transaction on track despite some significant challenges including Brexit and a rapid devaluation in GBP. Two preferred parties were taken forward to a final round and following detailed negotiations LDC were chosen due to their experience in the sector and deliverability of the deal on a valuation that exceeded shareholders aspirations .

Sam Davies led the transaction, supported by Laura Cockburn. They were able to draw on their experience of both having worked as private equity investors and advisers. This enabled them to advise Blue Bay on how to get not only the best commercial deal but also a legal structure that suited all parties and would not inhibit the future growth potential of the business

The transaction was completed on 13th February 2017 with LDC investing £6.5m and taking a minority stake in the business.

“Stuart and the team have built a high-performing, digital-first and customer-led business in Blue Bay Travel. Its destination expertise, brands and digital platform position it well to take advantage of positive dynamics in the sector. We’re excited about the potential for the business and look forward to working alongside the team on the next step of their journey” David Andrews, Investor Director, LDC

“I’d seen Blue Bay Travel receive numerous awards over the years that honored an unshakable commitment to industry-leading excellence in the long-haul travel sector. I felt inspired by what the team had achieved and I’m looking forward to contributing my knowledge and experience to the company’s future successes. Andrew Gardner, Newly appointed Non-Exec Chairman

Testimonials

Stuart Wilson

Blue Bay Travel

Sam and the team at Knight were invaluable in identifying the ideal partner for our business. Their understanding of Blue Bay and experience in the sector allowed them to quickly identify and engage a range of interested parties and the competition in the process ensured we were able to negotiate a superb deal that exceeded our expectations

Another Testimonial