Consortium led by Certares takes over FTI Group

A consortium led by US private equity firm Certares has taken over Germany’s FTI Group, the third largest tour operator in Europe and parent of trade-only bed bank

An agreement has been reached for the investment of €125 million to support the “next phase of growth and fund digital transformation”.

Munich-based FTI has 120 subsidiaries in German-speaking markets, the Netherlands, France and destinations around the world. The group acquired UK-based Youtravel in 2012.

The deal sees the acquisition of 100% of the share capital from existing shareholders for a symbolic €1, and the consortium will assume control of FTI. promotes Matthew Carpenter to general manager

Karl Markgraf, FTI chief executive, described Certares as “a leading investor in the global travel and tourism sector”.

“With support from Certares and its extensive experience in the sector and capital provided by the consortium, FTI is uniquely positioned for future growth and profitability which benefits all the stakeholders, including our customers, commercial partners and employees,” he said.

“We are committed to start our next chapter of success and to further consolidate our position as a leading player in the German and European tourism sector.”

Other FTI brands include FTI Touristik, 5vorFlug, car rental broker Drive FTI, destination management company Meeting Point International and several hotel brands under the umbrella of the hospitality company MP Hotels. About 10,000 partner agencies sell FTI products throughout Germany.

Headquartered in Munich, the group employs more than 11,000 people worldwide and generated consolidated sales of about €4.1 billion in the 2022-23 financial year – equalling its pre-Covid turnover.

Commenting recently on Youtravel, Markgraf said: “We can focus Youtravel more strongly on Western Europe. The model is working well in the UK and can expand.”

Established in 2012, Certares focuses exclusively on the travel and hospitality industries, with about $10.1 billion of assets under management.

Certares has stakes in G Adventures, Tripadvisor and American Express Global Business Travel and US-based Internova Travel, among others.

The investment process has been complicated by the involvement not only of FTI’s main bank and principal owner, the Egyptian Sawiri family, but also the German federal government and state of Bavaria, which advanced loans and credit guarantees to the company through Germany’s Economic Stabilisation Fund.

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