Vitruvian buys Sykes Holiday Cottages for £375m

Chester-based Sykes Holiday Cottages has been sold to private equity firm Vitruvian Partners in deal worth a reported £375 million.

Sykes said the transaction sees Vitruvian replace its existing backers, Livingbridge, following its five-year partnership with Sykes.

“At the time of Livingbridge’s investment in January 2015, we managed 5,000 properties in the UK and Ireland. Today we manage over 17,500 properties, in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand having delivered market leading organic growth and completed 12 acquisitions, bringing brands like Coast and Country Cottages and Menai Holidays into the Sykes Holiday Cottages family,” said Sykes.

“In April, we took our first step into the international market with a majority stake in Bachcare, which is the leading holiday rental firm in New Zealand with over 2,000 properties.

“Vitruvian Partners has a strong history in travel businesses, backing Travel Counsellors, Skyscanner, and JacTravel, as well as listed technology company Just Eat.

“The new partnership will help us to continue our investment in technology and people, as we target serving more than 3.5 million holidaymakers annually by 2023 and growing our workforce to more than 1,000 people.”

Sykes Holiday Cottages CEO Graham Donoghue, chief executive of said: “We’re excited about this next phase in the Sykes story.

“We’ve transformed the business within the last five years with the unwavering support from the Livingbridge team, and we are now in a strong position to scale further in what is a booming staycation market.

“Vitruvian are an excellent cultural fit for our business and bring with them a history of successful investments in technology and travel businesses around the world.

“Investing in our people, our service and technology platform will help us attract more holidaymakers and property owners, as well as helping us to continue our acquisition plans both in the UK and overseas.”

Vitruvian Partners’ Ben Johnson said: “Sykes Holiday Cottages has gone from strength to strength, growing from a trusted family-run business to one of the largest holiday home rental platforms in Europe.

“In Sykes we have found a team with a mission to become a global category leader and we hope to support that with our experience and capital.

“We back exceptional high-growth technology-enabled businesses with proven leadership teams and are excited to partner with Sykes Holiday Cottages during its next phase of growth.”

Adam Holloway, partner at Livingbridge, said: “Sykes Holiday Cottages is a fantastic business and we are delighted to have supported its development and growth.

“In Sykes we saw a wonderful opportunity to transform a business by maximising its digital potential in a fast-changing consumer landscape. Sykes has succeeded in driving the use of digital technology to deliver outstanding service to property owners and customers.

“Sykes ranks favourably against any holiday home rental business we have seen globally, and it’s great to have a UK based market leader with a rapidly growing and highly skilled workforce.

Investment bank Harris Williams advised Sykes Holiday Cottages on its sale to Vitruvian.