Deal sees former On The Beach investor and current Love Holidays majority owner Livingbridge exit the business after five years
Vitruvian Partners takes majority stake in Sykes Holiday Cottages as Livingbridge exits
Online holiday accommodation site Sykes Holiday Cottages has secured new funding from Vitruvian Partners which has taken a majority stake in the firm.
The deal sees former On The Beach investor and current Love Holidays majority owner Livingbridge exit the business after five years.
The new backing from Vitruvian, which also has a majority stake in UK homeworking travel agency Travel Counsellors, will support UK and international growth plans at Skyes.
Graham Donoghue, chief executive of Sykes Holiday Cottages, said: “We’re excited about this next phase in the Sykes story.
“We’ve transformed the business within the last five years with the unwavering support from the Livingbridge team, and we are now in a strong position to scale further in what is a booming staycation market.
“Vitruvian are an excellent cultural fit for our business and bring with them a history of successful investments in technology and travel businesses around the world.
“Investing in our people, our service and technology platform will help us attract more holidaymakers and property owners, as well as helping us to continue our acquisition plans both in the UK and overseas.”
Ben Johnson, Partner at Vitruvian Partners, said: “Sykes Holiday Cottages has gone from strength to strength, growing from a trusted family-run business to one of the largest holiday home rental platforms in Europe.
“In Sykes we have found a team with a mission to become a global category leader and we hope to support that with our experience and capital.
“We back exceptional high-growth technology-enabled businesses with proven leadership teams and are excited to partner with Sykes Holiday Cottages during its next phase of growth.”
When Livingbridge invested in January 2015, Sykes managed 5,000 properties in the UK and Ireland and generated £17 million in revenue. The business today manages over 17,500 properties.
The firm said it has “delivered market leading organic growth and completed 12 acquisitions underpinned by a highly effective digital transformation strategy”.
Sykes reported a record year in 2019 with bookings up 26% year-on-year and a customer based of 1.6 million people.
The business saw profits (EBITDA) during the year to the end of September 2019 rise to over £20 milliom (£12.6 million 2018) on the back of sales of £68 million (2018: £52.1 million).
In April, Sykes took its first step into the international market by acquiring a majority stake in Bachcare, which is the leading holiday rental firm in New Zealand with over 2,000 properties.
Adam Holloway, Partner at Livingbridge, said: “Sykes Holiday Cottages is a fantastic business and we are delighted to have supported its development and growth.
“In Sykes we saw a wonderful opportunity to transform a business by maximising its digital potential in a fast-changing consumer landscape.
“Sykes has succeeded in driving the use of digital technology to deliver outstanding service to property owners and customers.
“Sykes ranks favourably against any holiday home rental business we have seen globally, and it’s great to have a UK based market leader with a rapidly growing and highly skilled workforce.”
As well as Travel Counsellors Vitruvian Partners has also backed Skyscanner and JacTravel as well as listed technology company Just Eat.
The new partnership will help Sykes continue its investment in technology and people, as it targets serving more than 3.5 million holidaymakers annually by 2023 and growing its workforce to more than 1,000 people.