First class travel

BHP Corporate Finance is delighted to have acted as lead advisor to the majority shareholder of The Albatross Group in the sale of the business to a management buyout (MBO) team.

Albatross is a multi-award winning, international collection of group tourism businesses, both business-to-business and business-to-consumer. Headquartered in the UK, it also has substantial operations in Australia and employs more than 120 people worldwide, including staff based in Ireland and Germany.  It has combined annual revenues of over £30 million, across six brands.

The business was founded in 1985 and in 1995 Sean Taggart joined and became Chief Executive. Substantial growth was achieved under his leadership and in 2008 he led a MBO of the group from its founders. At that stage, he had a plan to lead the business for the next 10 years of the journey (no pun intended!) and then pass on the baton to other members of the management team. It’s not often that 10 year plans work perfectly, but this one did!

Sean takes up the story… “After 22 amazing years, I am so pleased and proud to have sold my majority shareholding in The Albatross Group to two of my long-standing colleagues, Steve Hornby and Adam Handy.

I have only ever viewed myself as a temporary custodian of this great business and have always tried to pursue a policy of engineering my own redundancy in order that I can make space for new talent and ambition to develop and flourish. That ambition has now been fully realised and I could not be happier to have been able to keep it ‘in the family’!

£30 million of combined revenue across 6 brands

I hired both Adam and Steve many years ago and they have now grown into great leaders in their own right and will, I know, be fabulous custodians of the business until the next generation arrives.

My time at Albatross has shaped much of my professional life and most if not all of that has been down to the people that I have met and worked with and the friendships and relationships that I have been fortunate enough to build over the years.  This very much includes David Forrest and his team at BHP Corporate Finance.  Even in an amicable deal like this one, there are lots of issues to consider and complexities to overcome and my advisors took all these in their stride and made it look easy!  They inspire confidence, wear their considerable expertise lightly and frankly are a pleasure to deal with. I would not have a moment’s hesitation in recommending them to anyone who was looking to do any sort of transaction.”

The BHP Corporate Finance team comprised David Forrest, Kevin Davies and Mark Cooper. David Forrest, partner, commented: “It’s always particularly rewarding to be involved in transactions such as this one. I’ve long held the view that well planned and structured MBOs can be a genuine force for good and this transaction (effectively ‘Son of MBO’) is a great example. Albatross is a highly regarded, well-led business with excellent values and Sean has done an outstanding job in driving it forward and planning for succession. He could not be happier to have been able to ‘keep it in the family’ and we could not be happier to have been able to help him achieve his ambition.”

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