Le Collectionist plans to acquire 15 to 20 companies by 2026 – CEO

Interview 31 January

Le Collectionist plans to acquire 15 to 20 companies by 2026 – CEO

Le Collectionist, a French provider of luxury villa rental services, is planning to make between 15 to 20 acquisitions by 2026, CEO Max Aniort told Mergermarket.

The company, which generated EUR 25m in gross revenue last year, is primarily seeking to consolidate the European market, and is looking at popular holiday destinations including Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Croatia, Aniort said.

It plans to make between three and five strategic acquisitions in new geographic markets by 2026, alongside several asset deals to accelerate growth in existing markets, he said. Strategic acquisitions will be of local market leaders, and the asset deals will be smaller add-ons of complementary businesses, he added.

Examples of Le Collectionist's past strategic acquisitions include chalet rental company Bramble Ski, which it bought in July 2021. “Bramble Ski is the leader in the Swiss Alps and the deal was the only way for us to enter this market,” he said.

In December, it also acquired Greek property rental company, The Greek Villas, to boost its activity in the country, he said, adding that both deals provide access to new properties and local experts in high-demand markets.

Smaller targets are usually local estate agents in destinations where Le Collectionist already has a “mature” presence, which includes south-east and south-west France, the Alps and Spain. These targets might generate a small turnover but offer a high-quality portfolio, Aniort said.

Moreover, the business will opportunistically look beyond its core market for complementary businesses to expand its offering, he said. He cited last year’s acquisitions of property management company Ibiza Evolution Service (IES) as an example.

Le Collectionist raised EUR 60m in December 2022 to fund acquisitions, in a round led by Highland Europe. The fundraising enables it to react when it finds good opportunities, further supported by debt, which the company is also looking to raise to complete transactions.

Management is regularly in talks, including with some of its direct competitors, to explore acquisitions or partnerships, he said, adding that it works with France-based legal adviser Gide Loyrette Nouel and is open to receiving target suggestions from financial and legal professionals.

The company usually identifies targets through its regional teams and its in-house M&A team, he said, adding, “being good in this industry means being local.”

Many local companies in France’s fragmented, EUR 100m-plus luxury holiday rental market specialise in just one destination, and this is also the case in most regions across the world, he added.

Le Collectionist sees itself as the main consolidator in Europe, leveraging its “not too big” size, which allows it to integrate at a local level, Aniort said. Private equity firms might look at some bigger companies in the rental space but Le Collectionist mostly looks at family-owned businesses that prefer to partner with an industry player as opposed to institutional investors, he said.

In addition to housing, the company offers travelers bespoke experiences such as sailing, dining and transportation, a trend which is set to be the global luxury travel market’s biggest growth driver between now and 2028, he said, adding that reports estimate the sector’s value will exceed USD 50bn in this timeframe.

Le Collectionist partners with the owners of 1,800 properties across 30 destinations including the French Riviera, the south-west of France, the Balearic Islands, Comporta and the Algarve in Portugal, Italian regions including Puglia and Tuscany, the French, Swiss and Austrian Alps and also the Caribbean, Morocco, South Africa and Costa Rica.

It ended 2022 at EUR 100.4m in global business volume, including all rentals and travel experiences, Aniort said.

Founded in 2014, the company has 250 employees and will take on 120 more in 2023, to develop its central office in Paris and existing local offices in France, Barcelona, Ibiza and Switzerland, and to open new offices in London and New York City, according to a press release. The majority of new hires are dedicated to M&A and the staffing of a newly formed integration team, Aniort said.

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