German broadcaster buys Swedish travel firm for $267mn

By Money Times

Oct 13, 2015 10:33 PM EDT

ProSiebenSat.1, a Munich-based German broadcaster, has acquired Swedish online travel agency Etraveli Holding AB for Euro235million ($267mn) from private equity (PE) firm Segulah IV LP. The acquisition deal for ProSiebenSat.1 is its biggest investment in the global e-Commerce. The German broadcaster will expand its digital operations globally following the acquisition. ProSiebenSat.1 is planning to expand beyond TV business. 

The acquisition of Etraveli enables ProSiebenSat.1 to get into tourism services segment. Etraveli offers airline tickets, hotel accommodation, under website Seat24. The acquisition transaction is awaiting approval from competition authorities. ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG is one of the largest independent media corporations in Europe.

Etraveli provides online services in the tourism industry as it offers air travel, hotel and rental car bookings across 40 countries. Etraveli travel services are being offered under brands such as Supersaver, Gotogate, and Travelstart.

The Etraveli shareholders have approved the acquisition deal by signing an agreement to sell all outstanding shares to ProSieben Travel GmbH, a subsidiary to ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG. 

Arma Partners LLP is the financial adviser to Etraveli and Segulah. Etraveli sales were 640mn kronor ($78mn) in 2014 and revenues grew 34 percent in the first half of 2015. 

Etraveli is one of the five largest online e-commerce firms in Europe. The air ticket transactions volume in 2014 reached SEK8.5bn and recorded revenues to the tune of SEK640mn. Etraveli management considers the acquisition of German firm will enhance the business potential. 

Mathias Hedlund, CEO of Etraveli, said: "Etraveli has in recent years significantly expanded its footprint and showed good profitable growth. Now with ProSiebenSat.1 as our new owner, with their strong platform, marketing reach and e-commerce base, we have all the opportunities to continue on our global growth path."

While thanking Etraveli's staff, Hedlund said employees were knowledgeable and dedicated to the organization. "We have been able to grow fast with strong profitability. I look forward to continue developing our global expansion plan together with our new owner, management and our employees," he said. Etraveli's internal culture combines an analytical approach with a rapid implementation of operational changes. 

ProSiebenSat.1 hopes that by acquiring Etraveli, it can globalize its existing travel portfolio. The German broadcaster is planning to go beyond Europe borders while continuing its success as an e-Commerce powerhouse. 

Private equity firm Segulah IV LP owns Etraveli since 2010. During the past five years, Etraveli grew manifolds and it's been a successful investment for us, said Percy Calissendorff, Partner, Segulah Advisor AB. "We firmly believe that ProSiebenSat.1 will be a very good new owner and enable management to continue to grow and build on the company's success," said Calissendorff.

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