Team members involved:

Team members involved:

The School Travel Group is a specialist travel company focusing on teacher-supervised ski trips, educational tours, and adventure and activity trips for children. It was formed by a series of strategic mergers and acquisitions which began in 2004 when Bowmark acquired School Travel Service, the UK’s longest-established school tours operator.

  • Investment: December 2004
  • Sector: Education/ Consumer & Leisure
  • Business: School travel
  • Growth Strategy: Buy-and-build

Why we invested

School travel is an attractive market, driven by the growing recognition of the educational value of teacher-supervised school trips, and increased outsourcing by teachers to professional tour operators. At the time of our investment, the industry was consolidating due to growing regulatory pressures on smaller operators, and this was an opportunity to back a strong management team to lead the sector consolidation.

The result

The School Travel Group completed and successfully integrated four acquisitions over a three-year period, including Equity Travel in 2005, Pavilion Tours in 2006 and Kuoni Student Travel in 2007, resulting in a significant growth in both sales and profits. In 2007, The School Travel Group merged with Kingswood, another Bowmark portfolio company, to form a leading business with a major presence in each segment of the educational travel market – activity and adventure, ski and educational tours. In 2008, the merged group was sold to DLJ Merchant Banking Partners for £100 million.

Read more about our Consumer & Leisure strategy

By enabling us to consolidate a group of individually successful businesses in our target markets, Bowmark helped create a one-stop shop that provides the entire range of educational travel solutions, from Primary School through to University, enabling student learning through educational travel.

Terry Williamson, Chief Executive
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