A £17 million management buyout of online holiday price comparison provider Icelolly.com has been completed to allow further growth and a move to new offices.
The buyout was led by chief executive Dave Clayton and backed by Palatine Private Equity, enabling the business to continue to invest in its online network and infrastructure to take advantage of strong market dynamics.
Palatine partner Andy Lees and investment director Beth Houghton led the deal and both will join the board of Bradford-based Icelolly as non-executive directors.
Former chief executive Chris Allen, chairman of LateRooms, has joined the business as non-executive chairman.
The Icelolly.com website offers around 40 million holiday packages from over 50 operators. The business also trades as an online travel agent via a series of brands, as well as selling advertising space via its site traffic and email database.
Clayton, previously with Global Travel Group, said: “Icelolly.com had 28 million visitors last year, and the brand has quickly become a household name for great value holidays.
“We have spent the last 3 months getting to know Palatine, and they share the same vision for the future as our very experienced management team. I am delighted they have decided to invest in what promises to be a very exciting chapter in the company’s development.
“The company has exciting plans to add content and functionality to the site, and is planning to move to new offices to accommodate plans for growth.”
Lees said: The travel sector was an early adopter of e-commerce with more consumers researching online to find the best deals for their holidays.
“Icelolly is a fantastic business with a strong and vibrant brand identity offering excellent value to its customers. We are really pleased to be joining the team and supporting the business through its next stage of growth.”
Founders Adrian Walton and Lesley Etienne said in a joint statement: “The last 8 years since we launched Icelolly.com have flown, and we have enjoyed some great times along the way.
“We have worked with some fantastic people, and we are confident that Dave Clayton, the management team and Palatine private equity will steer the company where it needs to go.”