Thomas Cook has confirmed it will sell off Neilson to Risk Capital Partners for GBP9.5 million.
The transaction to the private equity firm is due to be completed in early December when RCP will take over the active holiday firm.
Neilson’s existing management team Pete and Pip Tyler will stay in the business and be joined by executive chairman Richard Bowden-Doyle and finance director David Taylor.
Neilson carries 90,000 customers a year on sailing, skiing and beach holidays and generated GBP70 million in revenues last year. It operates nine summer BeachClubs; owns and operates 119 cruising yachts and has a growing Club Hotel concept.
The buy-out is RCP’s second travel industry deal this year after acquiring Cruise.co in August.
“We were attracted by the strength of the Neilson brand, demonstrated by the loyalty of its repeat customers, particularly for the summer BeachClub offer. The active holiday sector is growing and ski volumes are set to recover. We believe the business will prosper with access to capital as an independent tour operator,” said RCP partner Luke Johnson.
Pete Tyler, managing director of Neilson added: “We have spent some time getting to know Risk Capital Partners and are excited they have decided to invest in this business. Their financial strength, business acumen and historic results in the leisure sector will be of huge value to us and we look forward to their support in helping to grow the business”.
Thomas Cook’s group CEO Harriet Green has been selling off parts of the tour operator as part of the group’s turnaround plans.
Commenting on the sale, she said: “The transformation of our UK business – and that of the Group overall – is happening at pace. We have previously undertaken a comprehensive review of our product portfolio and where we want our business to be. Today’s announcement is the result of our continuing rationalisation of our business. Building on our other recently announced disposals, it will allow us to focus on those key brands, propositions and products that will deliver our strategy for profitable growth.”