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Leisure Pass Group

The Leisure Pass Group (LPG) was founded in 1998 to provide tourists to London with a ‘London Pass’.  By 2011 LPG had grown to be the world’s leading provider of city-based, multi-attraction tourist passes and had developed a proprietary operating system to run and manage them.

Background

The company was owned by its founders and a wide group of angel shareholders. Darran Evans had joined LPG as CEO in 2002 and, after several years repositioning the product in London, expanded into Paris in 2006 and from there into other European cities. By 2011, the Group’s success was such that the shareholders were keen to explore a sale of the business to an institutional investor that would be able to support the Group through its next stage of development. Primary won a competitive auction process purely on the strength of our relationship with Darran and the deliverability of our proposal.

The Big Idea

The company’s City Passes give visitors convenient, flexible and cost-effective access to a large number of the most popular sites and attractions in the destination city for one low price. We were impressed by the company’s sector-dominance and continuing growth and saw the opportunity to support the team in leveraging their expertise into new cities and territories beyond the 11 in which they already operated at the time of our investment. We also believed that the company’s powerful operating system presented opportunities for marketing ancillary products to the customer base.

The Grand Plan

We invested in people post-acquisition, broadening both the senior management team and the next tier of the team to enable the business to deliver its plan of rolling out city passes across Europe and beyond. We commenced marketing the Omnia Vatican and Rome Pass, in partnership with the Vatican, in June 2012 and continued to roll out the Pass across other countries.

The Bottom Line

Leisure Pass Group is one of the few UK-based tourist businesses to be able to say it had a ‘good London Olympics’. Over the course of our ownership the business more than doubled its revenues and nearly tripled EBITDA.  The business was sold to Exponent Private Equity in December 2016, generating a return of 7x our cost of investment.  It was subsequently voted UK Mid-Cap Deal of the Year at the 2017 Private Equity Awards hosted by Real Deals.

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Investment Summary

Date of investment:  May 2012
Deal status:  Realised

Date of realisation: December 2016

Investment return multiple: 7x
Company website:  www.leisurepassgroup.com
For more information talk to:  Rob Foreman or Alec Parkinson

“From the outset of Leisure Pass Group’s relationship with Primary, we have found them to be thoroughly professional and supportive. During our MBO they exhibited a deep understanding of financial structures and helped manage the whole process in an efficient and mature manner. When an unforeseen event occurred during the sale period they remained calm and measured, qualities which helped steer the deal to a positive conclusion for all parties. Since the sale they have been happy to let the management team run the business without undue interference while simultaneously remaining engaged and encouraging.”

Darran Evans, CEO, Leisure Pass Group

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