London — Mayer Brown has advised long-standing private equity client Vitruvian Partners on its investment in Sykes Holiday Cottages, the UK’s leading independent holiday home provider, to fund the group’s fast-growing plans for further UK and International expansion.

The transaction sees Vitruvian invest a majority stake in Sykes, replacing existing backers Livingbridge following their five-year partnership with the company.

Sykes enjoyed a record year in 2019 with bookings up 26 per cent year-on-year, taking 1.6 million people on holiday. The business saw profits during the year to end of September 2019 rise to over £20 million on the back of sales of £68 million.

The new partnership will help Sykes continue its investment in technology and people, as it targets serving more than 3.5 million holiday makers annually by 2023 and growing its workforce to more than 1,000 people.

Ben Johnson, partner at Vitruvian Partners, said: “Sykes Holiday Cottages has gone from strength to strength, growing from a trusted family-run business to one of the largest holiday home rental platforms in Europe. In Sykes we have found a team with a mission to become a global category leader and we hope to support that with our experience and capital. We back exceptional high-growth technology-enabled businesses with proven leadership teams and are excited to partner with Sykes Holiday Cottages during its next phase of growth.”

Perry Yam, partner and co-leader of the global Corporate & Securities practice at Mayer Brown, said: “We are delighted and proud to have worked alongside Ben and his team once again, in this latest investment in the travel sector. 2019 has been a very busy year for the global Private Equity team at Mayer Brown as we continue to invest time and resources to support our leading private equity clients activities in the mid-market. We wish everyone connected with Sykes every success in the next year of its growth."

The Mayer Brown team was led by Perry alongside Private Equity partner James West. The team included: Corporate & Securities partner Rebecca Bothamley, senior associate Katrina Murphy and associates Katie Bunce and Jamie Ball; Banking & Finance partners Andrew Crotty and Paul Tannenbaum, senior associates Danister de Silva and David Fraher and associate Ignacio Mirasol; Tax Transactions & Consulting partner James Hill; IP partners Mark Prinsley and Oliver Yaros; Employment & Benefits partner Christopher Fisher and consultant Andrew Stanger; Pensions partner Richard Goldstein; and Litigation & Dispute Resolution partners Julian Ellison, Jason Hungerford and Chris Chapman and consultant Thea Wilkinson.

Mayer Brown has previously advised Vitruvian Partners on several travel sector acquisitions, including the purchase of UK-based travel agents network Travel Counsellors in June 2018 and the purchase of OAG Aviation Holdings Limited in February 2017.

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