Travel Counsellors founder David Speakman and his wife Maureen have announced that they have sold their remaining interest to private equity firm Vitruvian Partners.
According to a message on Speakman’s Twitter page, the deal was completed on 31 May.
Speakman founded Travel Counsellors in 1994. It launched a business travel team in 2014 and has experienced global growth, with record sales and an influx of home-based consultants.
Speakman stepped down as chairman in 2015 following an investment that saw Equistone Partners Europe acquire a majority stake in the business.
In a letter on his Twitter page, the Speakmans said: “Last night a deal was completed in which we sold our remaining interest in Travel Counsellors. We were willing to remain as shareholders but we were never offered the option to stay invested.”
The Speakmans thanked UK managing director Kristen Hughes and operations director Karen Morris and their international staff.
They continued: “The sale ends our formal relationship with the company but we will always remain emotionally attached to all those who trusted in us and backed themselves.”
Vitruvian Partners has previously backed travel businesses such as Skyscanner, Jactravel and OAG, as well as a number of technology-enabled marketplaces including Just Eat.
Steve Byrne, CEO of Travel Counsellors (pictured), said: “Steve O’Hare and Equistone have been integral to our recent success, helping us to scale the business, strengthen the leadership team and invest in the technology and support we provide to our franchisees and colleagues. We will always be grateful to them for the support and care they have shown the business, the people in it and the investments they have made in us.
“The fact that we have secured a secondary buy-out is testimony to the confidence in the long-term growth prospects and plans for the company.”
Steve O’Hare, senior partner at Equistone Partners Europe, added: “We have been proud to have been able to support Steve and the talented management team through investing and building the business over recent years and provide a platform for the business to continue to grow and scale even further, building on the foundations laid by David Speakman. It has been a pleasure to be involved in such a people orientated business and culture. I am looking forward to seeing the next phase of growth for Travel Counsellors and its incredible journey.”