Monday, October 26, 2009

Web Reservations International (WRI) up for sale for GBP 275mm (the Times)

The Times is reporting that Web Reservations International (WRI) is up for sale with a price tag of £275m.

WRI is owned by Ray Nolan and U2 Manager Paul McGuinnes. It operates

  • - the former fashion/clothing site and poster child for the dotcom bust in Europe is now a meta-search company
  • - online booking for hostels, backpakers and budget accommodation
  • - more hostels and backpacker bookings with content
  • - more budget accomm including cheap hotels, motels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, youth hostels, holiday apartments, campsites, inns and lodges
The Times is saying that WRI has sales last year of €38m (£35m) and made a pre-tax profit of €18.3m.

thanks to joshhostels where I spotted the story first on Twitter and Hostelmanagement where he spotted it.


Deep Throat said...

your group not interested or are they still playing with the Amadeus sandpit ?

Josh said...

Thanks for the mention.

I run by the way.

The sale of WRI will definitely have a major effect on the hostel industry.

("@joshhostels" on Twitter)

Pete Meyers said...

Maybe Hostelbookers can raise a boatload of cash and take 'em over?

I find it interesting that the revenue multiple for this potential sale (7.7x) is almost exactly the same as SideStep's for the Kayak deal. Although I don't recall seeing profit figures included for the SideStep transaction...ever hear of any?

And I wonder what HW's asking price would have been 18 months ago.

Guillaume said...

I am not sure how The Times came out with this number of £275M valuation to sell the WRI businesses. By the look of it, they are looking at a multiple of 8 times the yearly revenue they do per year. Seems a bit much to me compared with other similars than happened in the last 5 years in Europe (Booking, Active Hotels, Venere...)

Tim Hughes said...

@Guillaume - good point - chances are it was WRI talking themselves up to the journo

Travel India said...

This will be a major milestone in this concern......


Guillaume said...

So apparenty WRI was sold to private equity group Hellman & Friedman for a rumoured £200M transaction. Still puzzled about the valuation of the group though.

Josh said...

Techcrunch said today "about $340 million" (~220m euros at today's exchange rate).