3i buys majority of International Cruise & Excursions for $150 mln

3i Group plc is buying another travel company.

The publicly traded U.K. private equity firm is acquiring a majority of International Cruise & Excursions Inc for $150 million, according to a source. The Scottsdale, Arizona, company partners with brands, including financial-services and travel companies, to provide travel-based benefit programs to consumers. Partners include Carnival, AT&T and American Express.

John and Marcia Rowley, ICE co-founders, are the sellers. The Rowleys and other senior ICE executives will retain a minority.

“This is an amazing business that has had sustained growth over time,” said Andrew Olinick, co-head of 3i North America.

Plans for ICE include expanding more internationally, Olinick said. Already 15 percent of company revenue is from outside the U.S., he said.

ICE employs more than 2,000. No job cuts or management changes are expected at ICE, Olinick said.

3i has previously invested in travel companies. Last month, 3i sold Scandlines, a ferry operator, to First State Investments and Hermes Investment Management. 3i then bought back a 35 percent stake, Reuters reported.

In 2015, 3i also invested 159 million pounds ($221.6 million) in Audley Travel, a provider of “experiential” travel.

Similarly, ICE has developed a product, “Must Do Travels,” for millennials, Olinick said.

3i’s investment in ICE is coming from the firm’s balance sheet. 3i doesn’t have a PE fund. The firm focuses on business and technology services, consumer as well as industrial.

Kirkland & Ellis and OC&C Strategy Consultant advised 3i. Jordan Klein of Baird provided financial advice to ICE.

Action Item: Contact Andrew Olinick at +1 212-848-1400

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