Advent International Acquires Majority Stake In Venere.Com, Italy’s Leading Online Hotel Reservations Company
1 December 2006
Advent International, the global private equity firm, today announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Venere.com, the leading Italian online hotel reservations company in partnership with its founders. The value of the transaction has not been disclosed.
The acquisition, Advent’s fifth investment in Italy in the past two years, represents one of the firm’s key buyout strategies – targeting businesses operating in high-growth sub-sectors within its core areas of expertise. Advent has assembled a cross-border team comprising local market experts in Milan and on-line services sector specialists in London to support Venere’s growth on an international basis.
Founded in Rome in 1995 by four local entrepreneurs, Venere.com is the first mover and leader in the Italian online hotel reservations market and one of the largest players in Europe. Its website enables customers around the world to make reservations at over 14,000 independent hotels and bed and breakfasts, mainly in European countries.
The online hotel reservations market is one of the fastest-growing segments of the €205 billion European travel industry, the largest and most attractive travel market in the world. Online hotel bookings in Europe totalled €3.8 billion last year and are expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 50% through 2007 according to PhocusWright. Growth is being driven by the increasing penetration of the online channel for bookings, changing consumer trends toward shorter trips and tailor-made holidays, and rising penetration of broadband Internet access.
Fred Wakeman, a Director in Advent International’s London office, commented: “We have been evaluating the European online travel market for some time and believe that Venere is a valuable strategic asset in the fast-growing online accommodation segment. We look forward to working with Venere’s founding management team to develop the business further through both organic and acquisition-led growth.”
Marco Bellacci, CEO of Venere.com, commented: “We are delighted to partner with Advent International. The integration of Advent’s sector and local market expertise with our own execution capabilities creates a winning combination that assures a promising future for Venere as a leader in the online accommodation market both in Italy and across Europe.”
Venere.com was advised by HSBC and PwC and Clifford Chance advised the selling founders. Advent International was advised by Lovells and KPMG.
The Venere transaction follows four other recent investments by Advent in Italy: Gruppo Argenta, a leading Italian vending machine operator, and its acquisition last week of Café Bon; AVIP, the country’s largest independent outdoor advertising group; and Mirabilandia, Italy’s flagship leisure park, acquired by Advent portfolio company and International leisure park operator Parques Reunidos. Earlier investments include Italtel, the premier vendor of fixed-line telecoms equipment; Marr, the leading Italian distributor of food and catering equipment; and Esaote Biomedica, one of the world’s leading manufacturers and distributors of medical equipment and instrumentation.
About Advent International
Advent International is one of the world’s top three global buyout firms, with 14 offices in 14 countries across Western Europe, Central Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia. Since its inception in 1984, Advent has invested in more than 500 companies and has helped businesses raise over $10 billion through public equity and debt offerings. These include over 130 IPOs on major stock exchanges worldwide. 2005 was a very active year for the group,which realized over 30 full and partial exits and raised three new buyout funds totalling over $4 billion.
For more information, visit www.adventinternational.com.
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