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Audley Travel

December 2015
UK, £100m - £500m

Liberty Corporate Finance is pleased to announce the completion of the secondary management buyout of Audley Travel, (“Audley”), a market leader in tailor-made experiential travel, which was backed by 3i plc as part of a transaction that will see Equistone Partners Europe exiting its investment.

Liberty advised the management team, led by Ian Simkins, CEO, Ivan Bumstead, CFO and Richard Prosser, Chairman.

Founded in 1996, Audley is the leading provider of tailor-made experiential travel to over 80 destination countries across six continents.  Serving clients predominantly in the UK and US markets, Audley is renowned for its superior service and destination expertise delivered by its 250 country specialists.  The business benefits from high levels of loyalty with a large number of repeat customers and referrals.  In 2015 the business is forecast to deliver revenues of c. £165m, up 20% compared to prior year.

With offices in London and Witney, Oxfordshire, Audley is the clear market leader in tailor-made travel in the UK.  In 2014 the business expanded into the US as a new source market, with the opening of an office in Boston which has grown rapidly and is already generating over 10% of total revenues.

3i will support the management team to expand the business’ UK presence, and use its international network to realise management’s ambitions for the Company in North America and help Audley expand its operations into new geographies.

Ian Simkins, Chief Executive of Audley, commented:

"The team at Liberty were instrumental in the MBO process and helped us to secure the right partner for our business on the right terms.  As part of the transaction we are also putting in place an incentive scheme for all our staff which Liberty have helped us design.  We now look forward to working with 3i as we pursue our growth ambitions by building upon the success we’ve achieved over the last three years with the support and backing of Equistone."

Michael McDonagh of Liberty Corporate Finance added:

"We are delighted to have worked with Ian and his team over the past nine months as they prepared for and delivered this important transaction.  Audley has grown impressively over the past four years and with its focus on customer service led by a young, talented and dynamic group of people, we look forward to seeing the business continue this growth trajectory in the UK and internationally.”