Four buyout firms are reportedly vying to buy River cruise and escorted tours specialist Riviera Travel for more than £120 million.
The suitors, which submitted final takeover bids over the weekend, are Bridgepoint, Equistone, LDC — part of the taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group — and Phoenix Equity Partners, according to the Sunday Times.
All have considerable experience of investing in the leisure industry.
A sale is likely to deliver a windfall for Riviera’s main shareholders – founder Michael Wright and his wife.
The 58-year-old entrepreneur, who is known for creating and road-testing many of the company’s itineraries, is likely to continue to be heavily involved in running the company, which is based in Burton upon Trent.
Riviera Travel, set up by Wright 30 years ago, is growing fast. Last year sales reached £106 million, up from £85 million in 2012, according to publicly available accounts.
Pre-tax profits jumped from £6.6 million to almost £10 million over the same period.
The company employs more than 80 staff and organises river trips across Europe and Asia as well as worldwide escorted tours.
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