Zip World Aims to Double in Size Following Multi-Million Pound Investment
Zip World has received multi-million pound backing for its plans to add new attractions in Wales - and rollout its extraordinary experiences to the rest of the UK and beyond.
The award-winning North Wales business has secured a ‘significant’ minority investment from leading mid-market private equity investor LDC, supported by the company’s existing business partner HSBC. The deal values the business at £45million.
And Zip World director and co-founder Sean Taylor believes the sky is now the limit for the adventure tourism brand, with ambitions to double in size by 2022.
Zip World, which was founded five years ago, has grown rapidly and today welcomes more than 400,000 adventure seekers to its sites each year. In the last 24 months the business has doubled revenues from £7m to more than £14m.
A 2018 study by North Wales Tourism calculated that Zip World had directly contributed £251million to the local economy over the five years of its existence.
Investor LDC is backing Zip World’s ambitious management team, led by Sean Taylor and Managing Director David Stacey. Sean has driven the strategy and growth of the business from its beginning while David brings more than 23 years’ experience of running multi-site leisure businesses and was UK Operations Director at Virgin Active, before he joined Zip World in 2016.
Sean Taylor says: “Having built an exciting brand in the adventure tourism sector, we are focused on scaling up and will be looking at compatible businesses to acquire.
“We have ambitions to deliver Zip World’s iconic experiences to more customers and create more unique new attractions. LDC shares our enthusiasm and vision and we now have the additional capital and expertise needed to fire up our growth plans in Wales and beyond.”
Dewi Hughes, Investment Director and Head of LDC in Cardiff, said: “We have had a longstanding relationship with Sean and Zip World team, and we’ve seen the business grow to become one of Wales’ biggest and most loved leisure brands over the last few years.
“Zip World is exactly the type of business we look to support. It’s a proven model being driven by a strong management team with a clear ambition for the future. We’re looking forward to getting off to a flying start.”
The transaction was led by Head of LDC in Cardiff, Dewi Hughes, with strong support from Alistair Pendleton, Simon Hemley and James Garland. Dewi and Alistair will both join the Zip World board as non-executive directors.
Zip World was advised on the deal by Stephen Hughes (corporate finance), Blake Morgan, FRP Advisory and PwC.
LDC was advised by Geldards and EY (tax), with Pragma, Ellis Whittam, FB Systems, Prelude, 3Sixty and JLT providing specialist due diligence support. HSBC was advised by Addleshaw Goddard and the exiting shareholders advised by Thrings.