Stewart Travel owner swoops on specialist in villa stays

The company that now owns Glasgow-based Stewart Travel, which has 12 branches in Scotland, has confirmed what it says is another major acquisition – snapping up a high-end villa specialist.

Chief executive Duncan Wilson highlights 'very ambitious plans to grow and develop Villa Select in a very short period of time'. Picture: contributed.

Brooklyn Travel Holdings was set up last year at the time of the management buy-out of Stewart Travel and the simultaneous purchase of Canterbury Travel, a UK provider of Lapland holidays.

It was revealed in September that Minoan Group had agreed a £6.5 million deal for the sale of Stewart Travel, which also has a branch in Belfast.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Aim-quoted Minoan is planning to develop a luxury holiday resort in Crete.

Brooklyn has bought Villa Select, which has luxury properties in Europe, the US, the Caribbean and south-east Asia, for an undisclosed sum.

Villa Select is based in Alcester, Warwickshire and Palma, Mallorca, and offers more than 365 high-end properties.

Brooklyn also said the purchase of the company from ITC signals its “ongoing acquisitive strategy”, with chief executive Duncan Wilson stating: “Whilst it is true that we are in expansion mode, we are only interested in organisations that share our culture of quality product and service at value for money prices.

“We agreed Villa Select as a brand is more suited to our portfolio than theirs. Our strategic path is one of building a portfolio of specialist brands which are performing well in their own right and may be assisted by our bulk buying power and our retail estate that is Stewart Travel.

“We have very ambitious plans to grow and develop Villa Select in a very short period of time, significantly increasing the already impressive property portfolio at the company’s disposal,” he added.

ITC chairman Jen Atkinson said: “We know the business and the team will continue to excel under the guidance and support of Brooklyn and wish the staff the very best of success in the future.”

The launch of Brooklyn and the purchase of Canterbury late last year in deals amounting to £23m represented the first stage of a buy-and-build strategy in the specialist travel sector.

The senior management team of Stewart Travel led by Wilson, Rick Green and Brian Cassidy completed the management buy-out of the company from Minoan supported by the private equity funders Zachary Asset Holdings.

Middlesex based Canterbury Travel, was acquired at that time and integrated into the group under the banner of newly created Brooklyn Travel Holdings.

Stewart Travel, which was founded more than 40 years ago, specialises in providing niche holidays to the independent travel market, focusing on high-growth areas such as cruising, Canada, Lapland and golf.