UK-based online travel agency Directline Holidays moved quickly this morning to dismiss growing speculation that the company is up for a sale giving its founders a multi-million pound windfall.
The Sunday Times suggested [payment needed] the 18-year-old agency had been in contact with a number of private equity investors to explore selling the business, resurrecting a previous attempt from two years ago.
Founders Matthew Flint and Tony Bradley would stand to split around £40 million as a result of any sale.
Inevitably, an official says:
“We have been approached a number of times in the past as a potential acquisition target due to the competitive position of the company and its product portfolio. We don’t engage in comment on rumour or speculation regarding these offers.”
However the company admitted it is working with business consultancy giant KPMG (and has done for two years), although would not elaborate further.
Reports that Directline could be ready to sell will fuel speculation growing over recent months that it is one of a number of companies tipped to be under the watchful eye of Thomas Cook.
The tour operator has stated its intention to buy an online travel agency to help it reach a target of becoming a top European OTA in the next few years.