Cruise

Private equity acquisition sees Ecruising join LeisureCom Group

Ecruising founders Brett and Philippa Dudley have announced the sale of all their shares in the company to private equity group Skybound Fidelis Investment Limited.

The acquisition will see Ecruising become a strategic business partner with LeisureCom Group, which is also owned by Skybound.

Started by Brett Dudley in January 2000, Ecruising was the first Australian agency to develop direct API connections with major cruise lines, and generated over $30 million in sales during the last financial year.

In February 2016, Dudley expanded the business with the creation of high-end luxury travel brand Latitude 33, which also forms part of the company’s boutique range of cruise products.

Dudley and his team will continue to run the business from their base in Sydney’s CBD, with LeisureCom Group working alongside the Ecruising team to grow the respective businesses.

“I always wanted to get our business to the 20-year mark – a real milestone achievement,” Dudley said.

“It’s been quite a journey and I have loved every minute of it, especially the people I’ve met along the way.

“I couldn’t have done it without the support of the trade, my amazing staff and my wife. We’ve received some incredible accolades along the way, something I’m very proud of and will always be with me in spirit.

“It’s time to look to the future and start to explore the world. We have built a successful travel business by consistently delivering exceptional product and experiences to the Australian travelling public.

“I am excited about what the future holds for Ecruising and Latitude 33, and I am confident that LeisureCom Group is the right partner to help us achieve the next stage of growth”.

Skybound Australia managing director Jeremy Thorpe said: “The Skybound Capital Group is a $2 billion global wealth business which is currently growing its exposure to the Australian market.

“In addition to our growing private equity portfolio, Skybound Australia is also growing its private debt and commercial property exposures, and it is targeting $0.25 billion in assets under management within the next 12 to 18 months.

“Our key focuses in Australia are currently in the property, consumer lending and the travel entertainment and leisure markets. We see strong growth opportunities in all of these markets.”

LeisureCom Group CEO Steve Chant said: “Ecruising is a well-established cruise travel company that complements our existing brands. It will instantly increase our product range and distribution opportunities, ultimately delivering a better choice for our customer base and increasing our revenue streams.

“Globally, there is no denying that there is an insatiable appetite for cruising, and we are excited to be part of this rapidly growing travel sector.”

Featured image: iStock/dem10


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