The Swiss tour operator Kuoniis to expand its online travel business by buying Gullivers Travel Associates (GTA) for $720m (£442m).
Kuoni, an upmarket holiday specialist, will fund the acquisition through new debt and credit facilities and a $270m rights issue.
GTA – which is controlled by Travelport, the private equity-owned travel group that pulled a float last year – will strengthen Kuoni's business-to-business services. GTA profits rose 42 per cent to $84m last year, on revenues of $1.9bn. Peter Rothwell, Kuoni's chief executive, said: "Kuoni is investing in one of the fastest-growing business segments of the tourism industry."
Founded in London in 1975, GTA operates in 26 cities and registered more than 12 million hotel night bookings last year. It offers tour operators and travel agents about 35,000 hotels in 130 countries, as well as transfers and sightseeing tours at destinations.