Risk Capital Partners, the private equity firm chaired by Luke Johnson, today announces that it has bought a majority stake in Cruise.co, the company which owns the UK’s largest online cruise holiday websites, Cruise.co.uk and Cruises.co.uk.
Cruise.co handles 65,000 cruise passengers every year, which generated an income of £64million last year alone. www.cruise.co.uk is the largest site in the UK for cruise reviews and cruise related questions and answers and publishes unique content and consolidates comparison tables of onboard facilities. The site also has direct access to every cruise line’s live inventory and pricing, providing users with real-time live availability. In addition, Cruise.co hosts the largest cruise forum community with 85,000 members where avid and new cruisers can engage in topics about cruising.
Cruise holidays have been one of the fastest growing leisure markets worldwide over the past 10 years, with first-time cruisers accounting for 40% of the UK market each year. Cruise.co.uk and Cruises.co.uk serve this market in each of the stages of the research process to make the right choice in selecting their ideal cruise.
Luke Johnson, Chairman of Risk Capital Partners, commented: “As more people research online, leading websites have engaged with users and harnessed social media techniques. Cruise.co has a wealth of content in addition to market leading prices. There is a great opportunity to replicate this model into international markets where cruising and online research are growing rapidly.”
Risk Capital Partners is providing additional capital to support Cruise.co’s growth ambitions both in the UK and internationally, particularly the Irish and Australian markets where a strong cruising appetite has been seen. In addition to backing the management team of Seamus Conlon and Andrew Gardner, who together own the rest of the equity, Risk Capital Partners will use its exceptional record of investing in the leisure sector to further strengthen Cruise.co’s online expertise. This acquisition marks the first investment by Risk Capital Partners in the travel market.
Seamus Conlon, Managing Director of Cruise.co, added: “We have spent some time getting to know Risk Capital Partners and are excited they have decided to invest in our business. Their acumen and results in the leisure space will be of huge value to us and we look forward to their expertise helping to shape the future of the business. We are well placed to take advantage of these shifts, and help customers and staff get together to share their experiences.”