Neilson Active Holidays

November 2013
UK & Ireland, < £100m

Liberty Corporate Finance is pleased to announce the completion of the management buyout of ski and activity holiday business Neilson which has been sold by Thomas Cook to Risk Capital Partners for £9.15million.

Neilson delivers award-winning holidays – sailing, skiing and beach - to 90,000 customers a year and generated revenues of £70 million last year. Established in 1978, Neilson sells its holidays direct to customers from its website and its own dedicated call centre based in Brighton Marina, as well as supporting the UK travel trade with sales via the ABTA travel agents network and specialist ski and sailing websites.

Active holidays have been one of the fastest growing leisure markets over the past ten years, with British holidaymakers keen to expand their holiday activities, whilst developing new skills in a social setting. Neilson operates nine summer Beach Clubs (five in Greece and four in Turkey). The company also owns and operates 119 cruising yachts from a number of Mediterranean sailing bases.

Its winter destinations cover all the major ski resorts in Europe and North America, with an extensive chalet programme and a developing Club Hotel concept.

The existing Neilson management team of Pete and Pip Tyler are staying with the business, and will be joined by Executive Chairman Richard Bowden-Doyle and Finance Director David Taylor – both experienced travel industry executives.

Richard Bowden-Doyle commented:

“The team from Liberty were great to work with.  They were dedicated, knowledgeable and professional but at the same time great fun and added real value to the process.”

Liberty were appointed to provide management advice to the incoming and existing management team of Neilson.