Riviera Travel hires bankers to set sail with new owner

The owners of Riviera Travel, one of Britain’s biggest providers of escorted foreign tours for the over-55s, have hired bankers to prepare a sale of the company.

Sky News understands that Silverfleet Capital, which has owned Riviera since 2017, has hired Baird, the investment bank, to oversee an auction later this year.

Riviera runs river cruises as well as holidays to destinations in Europe, India and South Africa.

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Founded in 1984 by Michael Wright, it was initially backed by private equity firm Phoenix Equity Partners in 2014.

The value of any prospective deal was unclear on Friday, although parts of the travel industry have recovered strongly in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.

The impending auction of Riviera comes as Saga, the London-listed insurance and travel group, explores options for its own cruise business.

Saga confirmed in January that it was examining ways to release capital from the division, which comprises the Spirit of Adventure ships.

Riviera is one of only four remaining assets in the Silverfleet portfolio, having once been one of London’s most prominent mid-market private equity investors.

It also owns Sigma, an aerospace components supplier.

A spokesman for Silverfleet declined to comment.