Web Reservations International in private equity buyout

Dublin-based Web Reservations International has been bought by San Francisco-based private equity firm Hellman & Friedmann.

While WRI’s flagship brand is hostelworld.com, it also owns hostels.com, boo.com, bedandbreakfastworld.com and trav.com.  In 2008 it recorded net revenues of €38m on the back of sales worth €350m, resulting in an operating profit of €19.6m.

The business was rumoured to be on the market for £275m. The price paid is not disclosed in this morning’s announcement.

In October, Hellman & Friedmann closed an $8.8bn investment fund. It said at the time that the fund “will focus on large-scale equity-related investments of $300 million to $1.2 billion, primarily in the United States and Europe.”

It has offices in New York and London as well as San Francisco. The WRI deal appears to be its first move into online travel sector.

In 2005, it took over DoubleClick in a deal which valued the digital marketing business at just over $1bn. Two years later it sold the business to Google for $3.1bn cash.

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