Global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG) today announced it has acquired a majority stake in Bonotel Exclusive Travel. The transaction closed on Friday; financial terms were not disclosed. Bonotel Exclusive Travel, established in 1991 and headquartered in Las Vegas, NV, is a receptive tour operator specializing in deluxe hotels and resorts, upscale boutique hotels and national park accommodations throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Receptive tour operators provide tourism products and services to incoming visitors that most often book through international tour operators. The Company works with a network of more than 2,200 hotel partners and provides more than 1,500 international tour operators with electronic access to its offerings. Founder and CEO David Sporn will continue to manage the business as CEO and Chairman and maintain a significant financial stake in Bonotel. Mr. Sporn said, “We are excited to partner with Carlyle and believe this transaction speaks to the strong financial track record and growth prospects of Bonotel. We are confident that this partnership will benefit our suppliers, customers and employees as we continue to expand Bonotel’s footprint into new destination cities and consumer markets.” Faisal Sublaban, President of Bonotel, said, “As the industry evolves to a more technology-based delivery platform, having a partner like Carlyle will allow us to continue to invest in our systems so that our offering can easily scale to the needs of our suppliers and customers.” Michael Fisher, a longstanding industry veteran, will be joining the Board of Bonotel and partnering with Messrs. Sporn and Sublaban to expand the Company's industry reach. Mr. Fisher said, “I have had the opportunity to watch David grow Bonotel over the past 20-plus years into the premier luxury-based receptive tour operator. Even with this tremendous growth, I believe Bonotel has only scratched the surface of its potential. I am excited to partner with David, Faisal and Carlyle on their journey toward turning Bonotel's potential into a reality.”
Adam Glucksman, Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, said, “Bonotel is a market leader in the luxury receptive tour operator space and provides a compelling value proposition to its hotel partners and international tour operators. We are excited to partner with David, Faisal and the Bonotel team, and look forward to supporting the Company’s continued growth through Carlyle’s global resources and industry expertise.”Other current and prior Carlyle investments in the travel sector include CVC Brasil, the largest tour operator in Brazil; Viator, a global online travel agent for destination activities; WorldStrides, an operator of student travel programs to more than 80 countries; and Ctrip, a consolidator of hotel accommodations and airline tickets in China. Equity for the investment came from Carlyle Equity Opportunity Fund, a $1.1 billion fund focused on mid-market buyouts. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP provided legal counsel to The Carlyle Group. About Bonotel Exclusive Travel Bonotel is a leading aggregator and wholesale distributor of both branded and boutique luxury hotel rooms to a longstanding base of international wholesale clients. The Company works with a network of more than 2,200 hotel partners and provides seamless electronic distribution to more than 1,500 international tour operators through the Company’s IT platform. Bonotel was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Las Vegas, NV. About The Carlyle Group The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG) is a global alternative asset manager with approximately $189 billion of assets under management across 118 funds and 100 fund of funds vehicles as of December 31, 2013. Carlyle's purpose is to invest wisely and create value on behalf of its investors, many of whom are public pensions. Carlyle invests across four segments – Corporate Private Equity, Real Assets, Global Market Strategies and Solutions – in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America. Carlyle has expertise in various industries, including: aerospace, defense & government services, consumer & retail, energy, financial services, healthcare, industrial, real estate, technology & business services, telecommunications & media and transportation. The Carlyle Group employs more than 1,500 people in 34 offices across six continents.