Skift Take

A leading travel and tourism investment firm acquires the third-largest tour operator in Europe.

— Jesse Chase-Lubitz

Certares, a travel and tourism investment firm, led a consortium that acquired FTI Group, the third-largest tour operator in Europe.

This deal ends a restructuring begun in September to strengthen FTI’s finances.

The consortium will own all of the share capital, and FTI will get about $130 million (€125 million) to funnel into its digital transformation and growth.

“Certares’ extensive industry experience and the new capital funding position FTI for exceptional growth,” said Karl Markgraf, CEO of the FTI Group.

Certares holds stakes in a range of travel companies like G Adventures, AmaWaterways and American Express Global Business Travel. The company and another private equity firm also own a majority stake in Hertz and it acquired several hotels in the last year. Certares founder and senior managing director Greg O’Hara became the chair of the World Travel & Tourism Council in November.

Munich-based FTI Group has 120 subsidiaries in German speaking markets, the Netherlands, UK, France, and other destinations.

The group had 6 million customers as of 2022, the latest figures available. The company has also signed a memorandum of understanding to be a launch partner with Saudi Arabia for increased multi-day tours in the Middle East.

Competitors to FTI include the giant TUI Group, DER Touristik, Kuoni, and Hotelplan.

Correction: This article has been updated to note that Certares owns a majority stake in Hertz with another private equity firm. An earlier version of this article also said that Certares owns a stake in Tripadvisor – its stake is in Liberty Tripadvisor.

Photo Credit: Casper Urhammer, CEO of tour operator FTI Group, on stage with Skift Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons at Skift Global Forum East in Dubai Skift

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