Phoenix Equity Partners backs Riviera Travel

UK-based Riviera Travel, a provider of overseas escorted tours and river cruises, has received funding from Phoenix Equity Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. As a result of the transaction, Riviera founder Michael Wright will remain as a non-executive director and a “significant” shareholder. PwC Corporate Finance and Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co. advised Riviera on the transaction while Duff & Phelps, Travers Smith and EY advised Phoenix.


22 December 2014

Riviera Travel (“Riviera”), one of the UK’s leading providers of overseas escorted tour holidays and river cruises, today announces an investment by Phoenix Equity Partners (“Phoenix”), a leading UK middle-market private equity firm.
Terms of the transaction are not disclosed.

Riviera, founded in 1984, will be led by David Clemson who joined the business in 2008 and continues as Managing Director. Michael Wright, the founder of Riviera, will remain with the business as a non-executive director and as asignificant shareholder.

Headquartered in Burton-upon-Trent, Riviera has grown impressively over the past few years, where it has delivered turnover growth of over 20% per annum.

In 2014, Riviera carried over 115,000 passengers.

Riviera operates in the high growth escorted tour and river cruise segments.

Core customers are typically over 50s travellers, attracted by Riviera’s exceptional customer service and value for money. Riviera is the provider of choice for people “passionate about travel”.

Michael Wright, Founder of Riviera, said: “I am delighted to welcome Phoenix as a new investor in Riviera. Phoenix is very experienced at partnering with founder owned businesses. Together, we shall continue to focus on providing exceptional service for our loyal customers, developing our successful portfolio of tours and river cruises, and creating opportunities in the business for staff at all levels.”

David Clemson, Managing Director of Riviera, commented: “I am very excited that Phoenix is investing in the business. They have strong experience of the leisure sector and, most importantly, it will be business as usual as we move into the busy booking season in January.”

David Burns, Managing Partner at Phoenix, added: “Riviera is an exceptional company, with a wonderful culture and very loyal customers. We are delighted to be partnering with Michael and David, and to be investing to grow the business.”
Riviera was advised by PwC Corporate Finance and Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co.

Phoenix was advised by Duff & Phelps, Travers Smith and EY.

About Riviera Travel (
Riviera Travel is one of the UK’s leading overseas escorted tour and river cruise companies. It has been delighting customers with its holidays throughout its 30 year history, and is truly Passionate about Travel.

Riviera has been a Which? Recommended Provider of holidays for each of the last three years.

About Phoenix Equity Partners (
Phoenix is an independent private equity fund management business. Phoenix is owned by its executive team. Phoenix’s investment focus is on mid-market UK private businesses valued at up to £200 million.

Phoenix invests across a wide range of sectors, backing entrepreneurs to build great businesses. Recent investments include Just Childcare (Healthcare and Education) and Key Retirement Solutions (Financial Services). Phoenix also has strong experience of the leisure sector, having previously invested in businesses such as The Gym Group.

Other recent Phoenix transactions include:
· Sale of Precise Media Group, the media monitoring business, to WPP plc
· Sale of NFT Distribution Operations, the UK market leader in chilled food distribution to EmergeVest