Thursday, June 07, 2007

Go Voyages on IPO path with (I think) a big mezzanine round

I mused back in February that I thought Accor was selling out of GoVoyages in France too soon. The story at that time was that management and a division of Group Arnault were combining to buy the business for Euro281 million.

Now we hear that GoVoyages has raised a further Euro55 million from European Capital S.A. SICAR a division of European Capital Limited. Have not found a reference to how much big a share this gives European Capital but assuming that GoVoyages is still profitable and still growing you would have to assume that there was an increase in the valuation - giving European Capital around 15% of the company.

Looking at European Capital's website one of the things they specialise in is mezzanine capital - that is funding just before an exit event, usually an IPO. My guess then is even though a profitable GoVoyages does not really need the money, this is a pre-IPO play. The size of the stake is consistent with this guess. If true, expect to hear news of IPO planning (or a big trade sale) towards the end of the year

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