Equistone acquires majority stake in Virgin Experience Days from Inflexion
Equistone Partners Europe has acquired a majority stake in Virgin Experience Days, a leading provider of experience gifts, from Inflexion Private Equity. Inflexion will retain a minority stake and the company’s management team, led by CEO Richard Hurd-Wood, will reinvest in the business. The financial terms of the transaction are undisclosed.
Virgin Experience Days is a leading provider of curated experiences, inspiring gift ideas for customers across the UK and US. Over a million experiences were sold to both consumers and c.1,000 corporate clients last year. The company offers an extensive range of 5,000 experiences, from skydiving to luxury breaks, derived from its network of longstanding relationships with suppliers including Fortnum & Mason, Red Bull Racing and Bletchley Park.
Inflexion completed the buyout of Virgin Experience Days in 2017 through its Enterprise Fund and has supported the company’s growth and expansion into new markets, both organically and by acquisition. Investment in the company’s technology platform has significantly improved the consumer proposition and helped attract new customers, whilst last year’s acquisition of US experience gifting business Cloud 9, now rebranded as Virgin Experience Gifts, has established a platform for growth in the US. Under Equistone’s majority ownership, the company will continue to build on its experience gifting platform and further accelerate the roll-out of the proposition in the US.
Richard Briault, Investment Director at Equistone, commented: “Virgin Experience Days has outstanding brand recognition and positioning in the growing gift experiences market, a best-in-class offering to consumers and a well-invested and scalable technology platform. The company has demonstrated long-term and resilient growth for over a decade. We are excited to work with Richard and his team to continue to grow the business, including further development of the platform and expansion across the US.”
Richard Hurd-Wood, CEO of Virgin Experience Days, said: “We have seen significant growth over recent years, with the support of Inflexion, including more than doubling our team and launching the Virgin Experience Gifts brand into the US market. Alongside our new majority investors Equistone we will look to further enhance our offering and cement our sector leadership in the UK and US. We are excited to have found a partner that shares our enthusiasm in what we’ve built and our vision to continue to bring incredible experiences to people looking to make new memories with loved ones.”
Simon Turner, Managing Partner at Inflexion, commented: “Virgin Experience Days has shown strong growth in both the UK and internationally during our investment, with exceptional commitment from the team during the pandemic. We are pleased to have supported the investment in their digital offering and customer proposition which has delivered excellent results, and we are delighted to be continuing as an investor in the business.”
Equistone was advised on the transaction by finnCap Cavendish (corporate finance and debt advisory), Travers Smith (legal), Deloitte (financial and tax), LEK (commercial), Palladium (technology), Marsh (insurance) and 140 Digital (digital diligence). Inflexion was advised on the transaction by PwC (corporate finance), Taylor Wessing (legal), KPMG (financial and tax) and OC&C (commercial). Incumbent lender CORDET supported the acquisition.
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