Director Lawrence Hunt admitted the decision not to buy Ideal Cruising was “a shame”, but insisted: “There are a few other companies around that we believe might be better use of our capital and represent better value in the medium to long term. We are looking at city break operators and ski and longhaul are areas of interest to us.”
Hunt insisted the cruise sector was still of interest to the group, which already operates lowcostcruising.com.
“We are still very excited about the cruise sector. We are not big in cruise but we want to get into it. Ideal Cruising would have been a very good fit,” he said.
But he said the structure of the Ideal Cruising acquisition deal, which was linked to the cruise agency’s performance, meant the acquisition would have been be too expensive in the current climate.
He said: “During the time we have been negotiating, Ideal Cruising has traded particularly well. Because of the way the deal was structured it meant the deal was becoming too expensive for us.
“A lot of it was performance-related, and they would have gained a lot of upside. But we have to get value for money for our shareholders.”
Despite last-ditch talks to modify the deal on Monday, Hunt said: “We decided we could not justify the valuation they wanted.”
He would not reveal the value of the deal.
Ideal Cruising chairman Ian Brooks said the agency was not willing to sell “below premium price”.