First Round: Which way to the beach?

First Round often declares it has found the ultimate private equity portfolio company.

Among those that have recently laid claim to the title in First Round’s unofficial Hall of Fame are former LDC company FeverTree (everyone loves a G&T), fourth-time private equity-owned German sausage casing maker Kalle (everyone loves a sausage) and Santa Claus provider Cherry Hill Photo (everyone loves a naturally bearded Santa).

But, although these all deserve their place in the pantheon, they may have just been trumped by Northern England-focused firm NorthEdge’s summer addition to its portfolio. (First Round is afraid private equity hacks are fickle beings.)

The firm has snapped up Chester-based ITC Luxury Travel Group, provider of tailor-made holidays to the uber-rich and subject of recent BBC documentary The Millionaires’ Holiday Club.

“For some people, money is no object…” croons the show’s narrator in the promotional video on ITC’s website.

Hmmm. First Round might have a fair idea of who “some people” might be. In fact, it’s pretty sure it comes across “some people” on a daily basis.

In the ultimate act of private equity wizardry, NorthEdge may just have acquired the perfect portfolio company to cater to the whims of private equity insiders.

First Round is convinced if it managed to blag a free trip from ITC (media pass, right?) it would surely find many a private equity bigwig basking beachfront, iPhone in one hand and a Mai Tai in the other.

According to chief executive Jen Atkinson, ITC is looking to broaden its product offering beyond its current luxury and tailor-made proposition.

“Our customers demand unique experiences in the world’s most exclusive destinations with a first class service,” she said.

First Round’s pretty sure NorthEdge could knock up an experienced focus group to help hash out what those demands might be.