European private equity firms 3i and HgCapital have held discussions with management at short-break operator Cresta Holidays over a possible management buy-in at the UK-based firm.
The two firms have separately contacted former Airtours managing director Harry Coe about a possible bid for the business. The Times reports that the sale price for the business, which has operated from its Cheshire headquarters for over 30 years, has been set at around £40m.
A number of trade buyers have expressed an early interest in acquiring the business, which has come up for sale as parent company MyTravel continues to reposition itself following record losses in 2002 and a multi-million pound black hole in the company’s accounts was discovered in November. Ebookers, First Choice Holidays and Lastminute.com are all believed to be interested in the business.
MyTravel, formerly known as Airtours, is also considering a number of other disposals, including Airtours Holidays, Jetset, Bridge Travel and long-haul business Tradewinds. 3i completed the £15m acquisition of Leger Holidays, MyTravel’s coach tour business, in December 2002.