News

MyTravel to sell Cresta

MYTRAVEL
is banking on a quick sale of Cresta – its ‘crown jewel’ – and is poised to put
further businesses up for sale within weeks amid claims it has fallen behind on
bank payments.

It
will be the third sale since October when Eurosites was bought by Holidaybreak,
followed by a management buyout of coach operation Leger in December.

News
Cresta was up for sale is said to have come as a “complete shock” to managing
director Steve Kimber, who was himself tipped to be involved in a management
buyout.

Cresta,
the UK’s largest short-break operator, is thought to be worth between £40
million and £70 million. Set up in 1968, it has 645 staff, carries 470,000
passengers and has a £150 million turnover.

A
total of 22 companies have been sent information, while a further two “credible
organisations” are also interested. The most likely bidders are TUI UK, First
Choice, Lastminute.com and Ebookers. Two private bids backed by venture capital
firms HG Capital and 3i are also high on the list.

Sources
warned MyTravel was struggling despite a vote of confidence from banks in
November – when it

posted a pre-tax loss of £72.8 million – and the
securing of an extension of its £250 million overdraft facility to the end of
2003. At the time, analysts predicted MyTravel’s debt could be as high as £3
billion.

 

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