Theme park and attraction ticket specialist Attraction World has credited its transformation into an online business for its success in securing venture capital funding for a management buyout.
The buyout was completed on Wednesday afternoon by the current management team of managing director Paul Stobbs and sales and marketing director Tony Seaman.
Midlands based investors Maven have valued to deal, discussions about which started in January, at around £6.9 million.
Seaman said Maven was one of a number of interested investors and that the key to attracting the backing for the company in the current climate was its focus on technology.
He said Attraction World is the only player in the market to have developed “gate ready” e-ticketing to the major theme parks like Disney and Universal ending the need to send customers’ vouchers.
E-payments also means travel agents and attraction operators can also process bookings without having to handle cash.
The buy-out will provide proceeds for overseas expansion of Attraction World, which claims 92% market share in the UK, and further enhancements to its IT, Seaman said.
He added: “Our position in the market was clearly appealing to investors. Despite the period of decline in the last couple of years, our sales have increased.
“I believe this is due to the added value and benefits we offer such as e-ticketing, ease of booking on our website and great prices.
“We provide travel agents with integrated access to most of the major global attractions, improving their customer offering and creating cross-selling opportunities.
“The next year will be very exciting and we will be appointing a chairman in due course. With clear scope for development into overseas markets alongside a strong core UK offering, this MBO will, I am sure, create wealth of exciting opportunities.”
Attraction World was founded in 1996 and since 2006 has transformed its business model to become a leading online travel company.
In 2004, just 5% of sales came via the web, today this figure is 85%. Almost 75% of revenues come from partnerships with the major travel agency chains in the UK.
The operator has exclusive partnerships with Thomson, Thomas Cook, Co-op Travel and First Choice and claims to have a significant share of the independent agent market.