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BC Partners Buys Huge Stake in Online Car Hire Company CarTrawler

CarTrawler logoAccording to reports, a majority of the stake in online car hire company CarTrawler has been purchased by BC Partners. The private equality firm not only purchased shares from the original owners of CarTrawler, Greg and Niall Turley, but it also purchased shares from ECI, another private equity firm that purchased shares in CarTrawler years ago.

Records show that ECI purchased a stake in CarTrawler in 2011. At the time, ECI paid around €80 million for its majority stake. It is believed that BC Partners has paid much more for its stake. When contacted about the sale, ECI did not give an official number. However, it did say that it has nearly tripled its investment in the company. ECI added that this was the biggest return on investment in the company’s history, so it is very excited about it.

CarTrawler itself is not very old. The company was first started in 2004 by the Turley brothers. Since then, the company has proven to be extremely successful. It has expanded into more than 150 countries all over the world. Despite being the people who started the company, it is believed that the brothers no longer play a role in the company at all. They made around €80 million from ECI in 2011. However, they chose to keep around 25 percent of the overall stock in the business. Before selling to BC Partners, ECI owned around 50 percent of all stock. The other senior management at the company own the remaining stock.

Reports show that while BC Partners will be taking the majority stake in the company, another private firm called Insight Venture Partners will take a minority stake in the company. BC Partners confirmed that the management of the company will continue to hold onto its shares.

Different banking sources said that this new acquisition will give BC Partners a company that is currently valued at around €400 million. Not only that, but it will be backed with debt financing of around €150 million.

Of course, CarTrawler does not show any signs of slowing down. Just last year, the online car hire company added around 20 new staff members to its Dublin headquarters. As a result, it had to expand its office space. CarTrawler currently provides airlines and booking agents with an online distribution system for car rentals. It is also able to connect customers with over 1,200 suppliers of car rentals. This is something that PC Partners would like to help CarTrawler expand.

It should also be noted that CarTrawler operates other car hire sites. Two of its better-known brands are Argus Car Hire and Holiday Autos. The annual bookings between these brands amount to around 5 million car rentals. Sales for the company reach close to €500 million a year. This is a three-fold increase over the past three years.



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