3i Group plc (“3i”) today announces that it will invest in International Cruise & Excursions, Inc. (“ICE”), a unique global travel and loyalty company that connects leading brands, travel suppliers and end consumers. 3i is investing alongside the founders, John and Marcia Rowley, and other senior executives, who will retain a significant minority stake.
ICE was founded in 1997, has over 2,000 employees and is based in Scottsdale, Arizona with additional offices in Australia, Europe, India, Mexico, New Zealand and the UK. ICE is a B2B technology business that partners with leading brands including financial services and travel companies to offer their customers access to travel and leisure products at preferred rates. The Company has developed proprietary technology that enables it to offer a wide range of loyalty, rewards and open-itinerary travel products across a variety of inventory types, including cruise, resort and hotel offerings.
The business has grown strongly with c.15% revenue CAGR from 2012 to 2017 supported by underlying growth in travel and increasing usage of loyalty programmes as a way to retain clients. There is significant potential in growth of both its domestic and international business, with international sales currently representing only 15% of revenues.
Andrew Olinick, Co-Head 3i North America, commented:
“This is an exciting investment opportunity and an excellent fit for 3i’s experience and track record in travel and technology-enabled services. ICE is a unique business that offers tangible benefits to all its stakeholders. We believe 3i can provide significant support to help ICE grow internationally and improve its offering for customers through enhanced sales and marketing initiatives.”
John Rowley, Co-Founder & CEO, added:
“We are delighted to be partnering with 3i and believe the team is well-suited to assist our business in continuing to grow and scale. 3i has a proven track record in the travel industry and an impressive international network which will be of great value to ICE.”
Marty Cole, previously Chief Executive of Accenture Technology, will join as a board member. Marty’s extensive experience of, and insight into, technology-led businesses, will be instrumental as ICE continues its impressive growth trajectory.
Kirkland & Ellis and OC&C Strategy Consultants acted as advisers to 3i.