Tui asks Citigroup to find specialist division buyer

Tui has reportedly picked advisers to start the sale of specialist holiday arm Travelopia in a deal potentially worth €500-€600 million.

Europe’s largest travel group has asked Citigroup to find a buyer for Travelopia, which comprises over 50 brands offering specialist luxury, adventure and education holidays, people close to the matter told Reuters.

Tui confirmed the mandate, while Citi declined to comment.

The auction, in which the business will be marketed to private equity groups as well as some other specialist travel groups, is set to start in the coming weeks, the sources added.

Tui previously said it planned to start marketing Travelopia in the autumn and the unit’s chief executive Will Waggott was quoted by Travel Weekly last week as saying he hoped to close a deal in early 2017.

The unit has annual revenue of €1.5 billion and earnings before interest, tax and amortization [EIBTDA] of €48 million.

Tui is expected to ask for bids valuing the business at 10-12 times forecast core earnings of about €50 million, the people said.

Travelopia brands include Jetsave, Citalia, Austravel, Sunsail and Hayes & Jarvis.

The sale of luxury travel specialist Scott Dunn to private equity company Inflexion in 2015 reportedly achieved a price multiple of 12.5 to 13 times.

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