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13 December 2017

Silverfleet invests in specialist global tour operator, Riviera Travel

Riviera Travel offers a global portfolio of escorted tours and cruises to 50 countries, attracting over 118,000 holidaymakers per year

Silverfleet Capital, the Pan-European private equity firm that specialises in buy-to-build, has entered into a binding contract to acquire a majority stake in Riviera Travel (“Riviera” or the “Company”), a leading specialist holiday operator offering a global portfolio of escorted tours and cruises. Completion is expected shortly and the terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1984 and based in Burton-on-Trent in the UK, Riviera is a leading operator of escorted tours with a focus on the over 55s market. The Company provides European tour holidays, river and ocean cruises, city breaks, and long-haul tours with varied itineraries combining leisure with education and entertainment. Riviera continues to diversify its range of holidays and currently offers tours and cruises to 50 countries, attracting over 118,000 customers per year.

Riviera has built an excellent reputation for quality and value for money with its focus being on providing exceptional customer service. The Company attracts new customers through its multi-channel route to market and its distinctive brand ensures a significant and growing level of repeat customers.

Silverfleet Capital’s investment will enable Riviera to accelerate its growth trajectory by focusing on developing the direct to consumer channel; increasing river capacity through investing in new ships; expanding its US customer base; and using its strong brand to help develop new holidays and experiences.

This transaction represents the sixth investment completed by Silverfleet in its current fund, and the second within Retail, Leisure & Consumer, a sector where the firm has been investing since 1990. Silverfleet’s current portfolio companies are based in Denmark, Norway, France, the UK and Germany.

Gareth Whiley, Partner at Silverfleet Capital with responsibility for Silverfleet’s investments in the Retail, Leisure & Consumer Sector said: “Riviera is a high quality, well-established business with a strong brand and value proposition. Silverfleet has long been attracted to the travel sector and the growing demographic that Riviera serves. We are excited by the prospect of working closely with the highly experienced management team and using our knowledge of the sector to help Riviera continue to develop its brand and customer base.”

David Clemson, CEO of Riviera added: “Riviera is now positioned as a premium tour operator for the over 55 year old consumer. Having managed the development of the business over the past nine years, I look forward to leading Riviera through its next phase of growth. Silverfleet Capital is a partner that comes with a significant and longstanding reputation for helping European businesses grow. I have known Gareth and the team for a long time and am convinced that with their support and substantial experience in the consumer sector we can successfully achieve our goals and develop the company further.”

The Silverfleet Capital team that worked on the transaction included Gareth Whiley, Mark Piasecki, Robert Knight, Sumit Dheir and Adam Ahern, who are based in Silverfleet’s London office.

Silverfleet was advised by Alvarez & Marsal (financial & tax), Parthenon EY (commercial), Ropes & Gray (legal, corporate and banking), Harris Williams (M&A), Deloitte (debt advisory), Intuitus (IT), PwC (data analytics) and AJ Gallagher (insurance).