Rumours of On Holiday Group sale to On The Beach denied

Rumours that online travel agency On The Beach is to acquire dynamic packaging specialist On Holiday Group have been denied by both parties.

Speculation surfaced this week of a £6 million deal to buy On Holiday Group, which owns trade bed bank Holiday Brokers and direct brand Fresh Holidays. It was set up in 2004 and in 2005 the business was valued at £4 million.

On Holiday Group founder Steve Endacott has never ruled out a merger or acquisition as a way to expand the business further, but said no such deal was in the pipeline during the current tough trading climate.

He said: “It’s not a year you would do a deal but you can never say never. We are not actively looking for a deal.”

But he admitted consolidation in the bed bank sector meant On Holiday Group was a likely acquisition target as it did not carry any debts and was management-owned. “I would not be surprised if people were interested in us in the next year,” he said.

The current focus was on growing margins, rather than volume, as the bed bank sector begins to mature, he added, signalling an end to cut-throat price wars.

“This has been recognised by all the bed banks, particularly because there is tighter capacity because of the collapse of the XL Leisure Group and the reduction in capacity by the big two.”

On The Beach non-executive director John Donaldson also denied there was any truth in the rumour, claiming it was “wide of the mark”.

More information:

* Ambitious expansion plans for On Holiday Group (Travel Weekly, May 12, 2005)

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