Love Holidays on brink of €180m sale

By Mark Kleinman, City Editor
One of Britain’s fastest-growing online travel agents will net its founders vast sums this week when it is sold to Livingbridge, the private equity firm, for more than ?180m.
Sky News has learnt that Love Holidays, which was founded just six years ago by Jonny Marsh and Alex Francis, is likely to announce a takeover later this week.The deal will be the latest in a string of transactions in the online travel sector, which has been buoyed by the premium valuations attached to listed peers such as On The Beach.Livingbridge was previously an investor in On The Beach, and has broader travel industry experience through its ownership of Sykes Cottages, a holiday home rental firm.
The deal comes as Travel Counsellors, another UK industry player, is also on the verge of being sold, to Vitruvian Partners, a buyout firm.
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Love Holidays is focused on the short-haul holiday market, although it is expected to expand into long-haul destinations following the takeover, according to one insider.Livingbridge declined to comment on Tuesday.
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