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Private equity in action - Case Study


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Country United Kingdom
Region Scotland
Investor Scottish Equity Partners (SEP)

Private equity helped build Skyscanner into a leading global travel search business based in Edinburgh and with offices across the world. When Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) made its initial investment in 2007, revenues were less than £1 million per annum. SEP supported the company’s growth and strategic development and in 2015 revenues reached £120 million.

Skyscanner employs over 800 people worldwide and has more than 60 million customers every month who use the company’s free and unbiased service to plan and book directly from millions of travel options at the best prices.

The company was acquired by NASDAQ listed travel company Ctrip in December 2016 for approximately £1.4 billion.


staff employed with 10 global offices


growth in revenues over 8 years

What did the business need?

  • Investment to develop a website to collate and compare prices for commercial flights across the world
  • To expand its services to include hotels and car hire
  • To create a global business with a significant share of the online travel market

How did private equity backing create lasting value?

  • Funded the development of a technology platform and extended reach across airlines globally
  • Participated on the company’s board and contributed to strategic development
  • Supported Skyscanner through key domestic and international acquisitions
  • Launched Skyscanner for Business, offering white label solutions to more than 400 corporate partners
  • Helped raise £128 million from five new investors to support global growth

What outcomes did private equity investment achieve?

  • Developed global site: now available in over 30 languages
  • Launched mobile app that has been downloaded over 40 million times
  • Built global customer base: more than 60 million people use Skyscanner every month
  • Created 280 jobs in 2015 alone with offices across Europe, the US and Asia
  • Attracted over 400 partners including MSN, flybe, Yahoo!Japan and Condé Nast Traveller
  • Achieved double-digit revenue growth for seven years: Skyscanner revenues for 2015 were £120m
  • Secured exit to NASDAQ listed travel company Ctrip for approximately £1.4 billion

More information


Scottish Equity Partners (SEP)


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