Iglu.com announces acquisition of Planet Cruise

Growth Capital Partners backs expansion of the online travel agency

The UK online ski and cruise agency Iglu.com has announced its acquisition of online and TV cruise retailer, Planet Cruise with backing from debt and equity investment provider Growth Capital Partners (GCP).

The equity investment service bought out Iglu last May in a deal valued at £19m with intentions to grow the business and the acquisition marks the next step in the company’s goals for expansion.

Founded in 2005 by husband and wife team Gary and Jenny West, Planet Cruise advertises its cruise services on various digital TV platforms such as Virgin and Sky which display the cruises for free and on live TV shows.

The Portsmouth-based cruise retailer has 75 employees and in recent years has benefited from continued growth, set to deliver £38m turnover at year end August 2013.

Iglu, which initially began as a London Business School MBA project in 1998, claims the purchase of its rival competitor will make it the largest independent cruise agency in the UK providing it with an estimated combined turnover of around £100m.

The announcement follows GCP’s recent investments of £13m in the medical communications company Fishawack and a further £13m in the specialist survey firm Scopus.

Managing director of Planet Cruise, Gary West said:

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“Combining Iglu’s online capabilities and our strength on television is an exciting prospect. There is a natural fit in the two businesses coming together and we as a team here at Planet Cruise look forward to creating a new market leader.”

Simon Jobson, GCP partner commented on the acquisition:

“We initially invested in the business having seen how well it capitalised on the huge increase in the popularity of online travel, especially in the cruise sectors and we recognised the potential for developing its online presence and growth by acquisition.”

CEO of Iglu, Richard Downs claimed that the acquisition will secure its place as market leader in the UK’s online travel agency industry.


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