Travel Republic was in advanced stages of a deal late last year to sell the company to a private equity group, Travolution can reveal.
Bosses have refused to comment on details which emerged this week that a deal for the fast-growing and well respected agency fell through in December 2008.
It is unknown whether the collapse was linked to the agency’s controversial stance over the ATOL bond or the worsening economic climate.
The deal is believed to have been worth tens of millions of pounds, although one well placed source suggested the price tag may not have been high enough to tempt the Travel Republic team to sell.
A statement from managing director Kane Pirie said: “Travel Republic is proud to be the UK’s leading independent online travel agency and we accept that means we will often be linked to potential transactions.”
The statement added that the current focus was driving the business forward in a “tricky” market.
It is unknown whether negotiations fell through because of the demise of XL, the worsening economic climate or impending CAA court case.
Travel Republic took the number one slot in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 report in 2007 with sales of £14.6 million compared to £0.3m in 2004 – representing a 284% growth per annum.
Travel Republic was founded in 2003 by Paul Furner and Chris Waite with Pirie joining in 2005 from a private equity position in Germany.