GCP Backs Oline Ski Agent

London-based GCP, a provider of blended equity and debt to UK small to medium sized businesses, has backed online ski and cruise agent, Iglu.com. The deal is valued at 19 million pounds ($29.5 million). The funds will be used to help the business expand into Europe.


GCP, the provider of blended equity and debt to the UK’s small to medium sized businesses, today announced its investment in Iglu.com, the UK’s leading online ski and cruise agent, Iglu.com, in a deal valued at £19 million, to help the business expand into Europe.
GCP is taking a significant minority stake in the business and will join the existing board. GCP underwrote the entire transaction, providing the debt and equity on the deal that was a buyout from Matrix Private Equity Partners.
Simon Jobson, partner at GCP said: “Iglu has capitalised brilliantly on the huge increase in the popularity of online travel, especially in the ski and cruise sectors.
“Our flexible funding will give Iglu the support it needs to become a leader in the European travel market including the relatively underdeveloped online market in Germany. There is also potential for some of our capital to fund future acquisitions.”
Iglu’s founder and chief executive, Richard Downs, said: “It has long been my ambition to take the Iglu brand into Europe and the partnership with GCP will help make this a reality.
“GCP was an attractive choice for us when looking for a supportive partner with the capacity to fund future growth. They provided all the funding on the deal, saving a huge amount of time and enabling us to come to an agreement quickly and efficiently.”
Founded in 1998 by Richard Downs, Wimbledon based Iglu now employs 130 people and achieved sales of £90 million in the year to May 2012, an increase of 130 per cent over the past three years.
Iglu.com initially focused on ski and quickly became the UK’s leading retailer of packaged ski holidays. In 2006 the company entered the UK cruise retail market and is now the largest online cruise agent in the UK.
Sell side:
Legals – Olswang: Fabrizio Carpanini, Mark Joscelyne, Fiona Twigg
Advisers – Livingstone: Christopher Jones, James Lever, Oliver Vaughan
Buy side
Investor – GCP: Simon Jobson, James Blake, Alexander Thomson
Legals – Osborne Clarke: Alistair Livingstone, Alison Meaken, Hugh Jones, Simon Jones, Michael Bell, Chris Yeo, Tom Pygall, Nick Haywood
Advisers – BDO: Peter Hemington, Harry Stokes, Kate Smith
Financial and IT – GT: Mo Merali, Sean Ryan, Alex Parker, Alan Dale, Richard Joyce
Commercial – Armstrong: Tom Raymond and Edward Hikmet
Regulatory – White Hart Associates: Chris Photi
Management – The Quinn Partnership: Paul Quinn
Banking – Barclays: Bianca Dexter-Burnell, James Dann
Contact details:
Corinna Osborne, Equity Dynamics 07825 326 440
Jane Kirby, Equity Dynamics 07825 326 441
Growth Capital Partners
Growth Capital Partners typically invests in businesses with an enterprise value of between £5m and £50m in management buy-outs, and development capital.