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29 November 2013

Speechlys advises management on Neilson Active Holidays buy-in management buy-out backed by Risk Capital Partners

This article was written prior to the formation of Charles Russell Speechlys, through the merger between Charles Russell and Speechly Bircham.

Speechly Bircham has advised the management team on the buy-in management buy-out of Neilson Active Holidays Ltd from the Thomas Cook Group. The deal is backed by Risk Capital Partners.

Neilson delivers award-winning holidays - sailing, skiing and beach - to 90,000 customers a year and generated revenues of £70 million last year.  Established in 1978, Neilson sells holidays direct to customers from its website and its own dedicated call centre based in Brighton Marina. It also supports the UK travel trade with sales via the ABTA travel agents network and specialist ski and sailing websites. Neilson operates nine summer BeachClubs (five in Greece and four in Turkey).  The company also owns and operates 119 cruising yachts from a number of Mediterranean sailing bases.  Its winter destinations cover all the major ski resorts in Europe and North America, with an extensive chalet program and a developing Club Hotel concept.

The existing Neilson management team of Pete and Pip Tyler are to remain with the business, and will be joined by Executive Chairman Richard Bowden-Doyle and Finance Director David Taylor - both experienced travel industry executives.

Richard Bowden-Doyle commented: "The team from Speechlys were great to work with.  They were dedicated, knowledgeable and professional, but at the same time great fun and added real value to the process."

The Speechlys team comprised Malcolm MacDougall, Adam Crossley, Kirsti Laird, Rob Birchall and Lianne Chin.  Adam Crossley commented: "We have enjoyed working with Richard, David, Pete and Pip on this transaction and wish them and Risk Capital Partners every success in taking Neilson forward as an independent business."