Case Study: LoveHolidays
- Development Capital
loveholidays;- from start-up investment to 8th largest travel company in the UK and the 2nd fastest growth company in the UK according to The Times FastTrack 100.
London based We Love Holidays are an online travel agency (OTA) that runs two websites; Travelmatch.com and loveholidays.com. Travelmatch.com provides a revolutionary search portal for consumers looking for holidays and short breaks around the world. The portal allows users to search for holidays based not only upon price or location but on key features they wish to have available such as water sports, kids’ activities, swimming pools, spa facilities and local entertainments. loveholidays.com is a complimentary website developed to sit alongside Travelmatch.com as an on-line travel agency.
Having been backed from a start-up with 2 employees by Meridian in 2009, Meridian has made various investments into the company as it continues to expand and outperform expectations. loveholidays has grown to become the 8th largest travel agent in the UK with over £200m in sales, 320 staff and its own unique technology platform. The company was also ranked the 2nd fastest growing company in the UK in The Times Tech Track 100 and is forecast to achieve further double-digit growth per annum moving forwards.
Darren Thompson of Meridian has been a Board adviser from start-up, working with the management team to refine their business model in the early years and reposition the company to take advantage of the evolving travel market. loveholidays has experienced 100% YOY growth and is highly profitable.
CEO Alex Francis comments “Meridian backed the business at a very early stage in its development, recognising both the opportunity and the quality of the management team. Darren sat on the Board for the crucial 2 years post investment and provided insight and valuable contributions that enabled us to make often difficult decisions. We are the fastest growing OTA in the UK and Darren’s continued input has always been readily sought as part of our exciting journey.”
Meridian remained heavily involved with the strategy of loveholidays until the 'investment journey' culminated in a sale upwards of £180m by private equity firm Livingbridge, which is understood to be their largest investment to date. As the largest shareholder outside the management team, Meridian realised a significant return on their investment.