x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Investcorp buys major online stake

Investcorp in majority buyout of GBP30 million UK online accommodation booking company.

Investcorp has bought a majority stake in the £30 million (Dh180.3m) UK online tourism booking company eviivo.

The deal was done through Investcorp's private equity arm with the aim of cashing in on expected growth in hotel bookings online, said the company, based in Bahrain. "There is a boom in online accommodation booking which is expected to grow as internet penetration increases and consumer behaviour shifts towards it," said Mazin al Khatib, the managing director of Investcorp and the head of its UAE operations.

Based in London, eviivo focuses on the UK's independent accommodation sector, with customers including bed and breakfast houses, inns, farmhouses and small boutique hotels.

Investcorp said eviivo had "grown at a compounded annual growth rate of over 60 per cent for the last few years and currently partners more than 4,400 independent businesses in the UK".

Despite the online market's maturity in Europe, "opportunities exist in western Europe for online accommodation sales", Euromonitor said in a report last week.

"Younger populations across the world … are embracing online purchasing without the previous lack of confidence seen by many older consumers, particularly in emerging regions."

At the end of last year Investcorp had US$12.2 billion (Dh44.81bn) in assets under management.