Private equity firm Equistone Partners Europe, which took a stake in Travel Counsellors in 2014, is acquiring a majority shareholding in French travel firms Karavel-Promovacances and FRAM for an undisclosed sum.

Karavel-Promovacances is the leading online tourism group in France with more than seven million unique visitors across all of its platforms.

The group owns specialised brands in distinct segments, including its flagship brand Promovacances as well as ABCroisiere and Partir Pas Cher.

Long-established French tour operator FRAM was acquired by Karavel-Promovacances parent company LBO France in 2015 to develop complementary synergies between the two groups.

Founded in 1949, FRAM also operates under the Plein Vent brand.

Equistone said the acquisition “will preserve the independence of one of the last-remaining significant incumbents in French tourism industry, following a period of consolidation of the market led by major international players.

“Equistone will support managements’ existing growth strategy and provide both FRAM and Karavel-Promovacances with the resources to drive their continued development.”

Karavel-Promovacances and FRAM president  Alain de Mendonca said: “This operation will preserve the strong identity of the FRAM and Promovacances brands, which will remain independent and maintain their French identity in a sector that is consolidating at a growing pace, with a large majority of the sector’s tour operators now under the control of foreign industrial groups.

“We would also like to thank LBO France for their past support. With the arrival of Equistone as a new shareholder, we will continue to benefit from the support of a shareholder that is committed to our strategic plan.”

FRAM managing director Michel Quenot added: “FRAM is a name that has been around for nearly 70 years. This partnership with Equistone will help enable us to maintain and develop this flagship of our national tourism industry, which is dear to the heart of many French people.”