Clearwater International UK advises Livingbridge on its investment in loveholidays

Clearwater International UK provided debt advisory services to Livingbridge, one of the UK’s leading mid-market private equity investors, raising funds to support its investment in online travel agent, loveholidays.

loveholidays, the short-haul beach holiday provider headquartered in London, is the fastest growing online travel agency in the UK. Founded by Alex Francis and Jonny Marsh in 2012 and now with a team of 140, loveholidays allows customers to create bespoke holidays through ‘discovery search,’ inspiring customers to filter by the attributes that matter to them, rather than requiring them to start with where and when. loveholidays are the 6th largest ATOL holder.

Livingbridge’s investment will be used to fuel further growth through customer acquisition and drive repeat booking rates. Alongside this, Livingbridge will look to work with the business to support further product innovation as well as category expansion.

UK holiday spending is growing, with trade bookings for summer 2018 up 5% year on year, to the end of February, and season-to-date revenue up 8%. Outbound travel maintains a c.70% share of total spend, and online dynamic packaged holidays accounting for £3bn of holiday spend in 2017.

Livingbridge are experienced investors in the travel sector, having backed Enigma Travel, On the Beach and Travel Jigsaw, as well as current investees Direct Ferries and Sykes Cottages, the latter transaction also advised by Clearwater International.

The Clearwater International team was led by Partner Chris Smith, with support from Director Lachlan Dorrity and Associate Director Hertej Rattan.

“When choosing a partner to help grow our business, Livingbridge was the obvious choice, given their clear entrepreneurial and cultural fit plus their longstanding track record of backing other high growth online travel companies. We look forward to working with them and growing the business over the coming years.”

Alex Francis, CEO, loveholidays

“Having known Alex and his team for years, we’re thrilled to be partnering with them. With an experienced and ambitious management team, best-in-class technology platform and a disruptive customer proposition, loveholidays is an incredibly exciting travel business with a fantastic future ahead.”

Daniel Smith, Partner, Livingbridge

“loveholidays has experienced rapid growth and is therefore an attractive investment opportunity. loveholidays can leverage the invaluable knowledge and experience that Livingbridge has within this space. We’re seeing a considerable amount of activity within the buoyant holiday market and loveholidays is in a very strong position to capitalise on these opportunities.”

Chris Smith, Partner, Clearwater International