Kuoni Group accepts $1.4bn takeover bid

The Swiss Kuoni Group today accepted a take over by Swedish venture capital firm EQT for $363 per share.

The deal values Kuoni Group at about 1.39 billion Swiss francs or $1.4 billion.

The offer price is 21% higher than the Zurich-based company’s closing price Monday.

The deal follows a “comprehensive review and assessment of all strategic options,” according to Kuoni Group

EQT ownership will enable Kuoni Group to accelerate growth and further strengthen its leading market positions, the company said.

EQT has also been linked with a possible takeover of Tui-owned Hotelbeds for £800 million.

Kuoni Group chief executive Zubin Karkaria and the existing management team will continue to lead the company, which sold its tour operating interests including Kuoni UK last year.

The Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation, which was set up by the founder’s son and business partner, controls 25% of Kuoni’s voting rights and owns about 6.3% of its equity. Both support the bid and will remain actively involved.

“The transaction enables Kuoni Group to further develop its position as a leading, focused and global travel services provider by investing in technology, in its enhanced service portfolio and in the acquisition of other businesses,” the company said.

Michael Bauer, partner at EQT Partners in Zurich, said: “EQT is proud of taking over the responsibility for the further successful development of one of the world’s leading travel services provider.

“We follow an industrial, long-term oriented approach when investing into companies to build sustainable market leaders.

“It is our ambition to enable the Kuoni Group to strengthen the market position of its businesses, both through organic growth and acquisitions, and to further increase the attractiveness of the Kuoni Group for clients, business partners and employees.

“This marks the starting point of a very promising era for Kuoni to continue to build successfully on its 110 years long journey.”

Karkaria said: “We welcome EQT’s investment in the Kuoni Group, which underlines the attractiveness of our business activities.

“With the new owners we will be able to accelerate the implementation of our strategy.

“Investments in technology and supporting acquisition opportunities give the Kuoni Group an excellent platform to build further on its leadership positions in travel industry services.

“EQT has an impressive track record of growing companies. With access to their experience and network in both the travel and tech industries, we will be able to accelerate the implementation of Kuoni’s strategy.”

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