Iglu buys Planet Cruise

Iglu.com, an Internet-based travel agency that specialises in winter sports holidays, cruises and Christmas holidays to Lapland, has purchased Planet Cruise, a cruise and tour holiday operator.

The buyout was backed by Growth Capital Partners (GCP), an organisation that has owned a stake in Iglu for little over a year. The combined turnover for the combined business is reported to be in the region of GBP135 million.

Both companies are UK-based; Iglu has offices in Wimbledon employing 150 people and Planet Cruise is based in Portsmouth. It is expected that both offices will remain open and that the 75 staff that currently work for Planet Cruise will be retained.

Once the companies are integrated, Iglu claims that its customers will be uniquely placed to source holidays by website, mobile app, tablet or television.

Richard Downs, Iglu’s chief executive, said, ‘This acquisition means we are going to be delivering the future of travel retailing today. With the convergence of TV and the web our customers will have access to the richest and most informed content whichever way they chose to access it.

‘Iglu has long been the number one independent ski retailer in the UK and this deal makes us the number one retailer in cruise.’

Founded eight years ago, Planet Cruise uses television as the main thrust of its sales campaign. It has TV slots on Freeview, Sky, Freesat, and Virgin after launching a cruise show on the Ideal World shopping channel in 2008.

Gary West, managing director of Planet Cruise, commented, ‘Combining Iglu’s online capabilities and our strength on television is an exciting prospect.’