Private equity firm Vitruvian Partners has taken a majority stake in Skyes Holiday Cottages, a property management company with 17,500 vacation properties in the United Kingdom (UK) and New Zealand.

Sykes has become one of UK’s largest vacation rental management companies through a string of smaller acquisitions it has made over three decades. There was a lot of interest in the acquiring the business and Vitruvian eventually won the bid. Vitruvian was once a backer of Skyscanner, which was sold to online travel company Ctrip.com, recently renamed Trip.com Group.

The deal, which was for $480 million, sold at 5.5x sales and 19x EBITDA based on sales of $87 million and EBITDA of $25 million, respectively, for the year ending September 2019. The stake was sold by private equity firm Livingbridge, which bought Sykes for $75 million in 2015. At that time, Skyes was managing 5,000 properties in the UK and generated revenues of $22 million.

Sykes has a proprietary technology platform to run its entire business, from identifying potential properties to a comprehensive property management system. 

Sykes is not looking to be reliant on third-party companies, like Airbnb and Booking.com, to drive demand. Its technology platform contains an integrated revenue management system and bid management system, which helps the company identify opportunities to directly market to travelers through search ads. Skift reports that 80 percent of Sykes UK bookings come directly from its website and mobile app and 46 percent of its bookings are repeat customers. 



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