Holiday Autos Owner Accelerates £150m Sale
The owner of the Holiday Autos car rental brand is close to hiring bankers to oversee a sale that could value the business at more than £150m.
Sky News understands that ECI Partners, the private equity group which owns a controlling stake in CarTrawler, a Dublin-based provider of online car rental distribution systems, is on the verge of appointing PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to advise on an auction which is expected to get underway by the end of the year.
The development comes weeks after it emerged that ECI was plotting a sale of the business just two years after it bought CarTrawler for about £80m.
That deal earned multimillion pound windfalls for Greg and Niall Turley, the brothers who founded the business and oversaw its expansion into more than 170 countries.
Such a rapid change of ownership is not unusual in the private equity industry, although it is possible that ECI will decide against a sale if prospective buyers fail to meet its valuation expectations. PwC also advised ECI on its acquisition of the company.
CarTrawler announced the acquisition of the online assets of Holiday Assets earlier this summer, buying them from Travelocity Global, the immediate parent company of Lastminute.com, the online leisure bookings company.
That deal reunited ECI with Holiday Autos, which it had owned for several years before selling to Lastminute while it was a publicly-listed company in London in 2003.
CarTrawler, which has become a popular platform for companies to rent cars online, has annual bookings of around 5m vehicles, and sales of more than £425m.
ECI declined to comment.