Travel management company Key Travel, a specialist in the not-for-profit sector, has been acquired by private equity firm Elysian Capital.

The takeover by private equity (PE) follows a management buy-out of Key Travel backed by PE investor Livingbridge, formerly ISIS Equity Partners, in 2013.

Key Travel founder Ajay Sodha stood down as chairman of the company at the time of the buy-out, but Sodha retained what he described as a “substantial” financial stake and acted as head of industry affairs for the company until now.

The value of the deal was undisclosed, but Livingbridge is understood to have enjoyed a return of 3.2 times its original £9 million investment in the company.

Key Travel provides travel and risk management services to clients including WWF and ActionAid and to many of the UK’s leading universities including Oxford, Cambridge and King’s College London.

The company operates in 54 countries and has offices in the UK, Continental Europe and the US.

Saad Hammad took over as Key Travel chief executive in November 2017.

A former chief executive of UK regional airline Flybe and chief commercial officer at easyJet, Hammad said: “With Livingbridge’s backing we have grown to be the largest international TMC exclusively focusing on the humanitarian, faith and academic sectors.

“We look forward to ramping up our global growth over the coming years and fulfilling our ambition to double in size with the support of new partners Elysian Capital.”

Livingstone partner James Lever said: “Key Travel has a market leading international proposition with an exceptional management team.”