Travelstart Group Partners with HarbourVest, to Acquire Club Travel

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Africa’s largest online travel company, Travelstart, has announced a new partnership with global private markets investment firm, HarbourVest, with $58 billion under asset management.

According to a statement in Lagos Saturday, HarbourVest will support Travelstart’s further expansion in geographies and growth in new verticals in the continent’s $194 billion tourism and travel market.

It stated that the investment comes on the back of MTNs Asset Realisation Programme. MTN and Travelstart will continue their commercial relationship.

The statement quoted the Founder and CEO of Travelstart Group, Stephen Ekbergh to have said: “The partnership with HarbourVest is a confirmation of the future opportunity in online travel in Africa, our business and our team.”n

It also said that on the heels of this deal, Travelstart continues its growth trajectory in Africa as it is set to wholly acquire the Club Travel Group, a South African travel company, adding that the acquisition will boost Travelstart’s offering by adding Club Travel’s established complementary corporate and franchise divisions, creating a formidable full-service African travel group.

Travelstart Nigeria’s Country Manager, Philip Akesson, was also quoted as saying: ”The investment – coupled with the Club Travel acquisition – strengthens our overall group and will as a result help us continue to accelerate our growth in Nigeria.”

With the acquisition, Travelstart and Club Travel enter a co-operation which will enable the former to expand its business and reach new customers, and the latter to gain the expertise to deliver digital product innovation and remain competitive.

Club Travel will continue as a standalone company within the Travelstart portfolio. Thebe Tourism Holdings (Thebe), the majority shareholder of the Club Travel Group since 2009, will sell its stake in the Club Travel Group to Travelstart. Thebe and Travelstart will jointly invest in and own Club Travel Corporate.

The closing of the deal is subject to the approval of the Competition Commission of South Africa.