Harris Williams & Co. Ltd Advises Duke Street Private Equity on its Acquisition of Great Rail Journeys

July 19, 2018

Harris Williams & Co. Ltd, a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide, announces that it advised Duke Street Private Equity (Duke Street) on its acquisition of Great Rail Journeys (GRJ). The transaction was led by Edward Arkus, Will Bain and Danielius Uznys of Harris Williams’ Consumer Group.

“GRJ is a leading provider of escorted rail holidays globally that continues to benefit from a unique offering, a loyal customer base and favourable market trends,” said Edward Arkus, a managing director at Harris Williams. “We are delighted to have advised Duke Street on this transaction, which further enhances our strong track record of advising across the travel sector. We have now completed four travel sector transactions in 2018, including Riviera, A-ROSA and loveholidays.”

Will Bain, a director in the firm’s Consumer Group, added, “Travel is one of the most exciting sub-sectors in the European consumer market. With Duke Street’s support and backing, there is a significant growth opportunity to further expand GRJ’s market leading offering. We look forward to following the continued development of the business in the coming years.”

Duke Street is a leading operationally focused European mid-market buyout group. Founded in 1988, it invests across four sectors: healthcare, services, consumer and industrials. Duke Street has a proven model of value creation by successfully transforming businesses through implementing operational change and buy-and-build, having made approximately 60 bolt-on acquisitions for its portfolio companies. Duke Street has invested over €2.5 billion in more than 50 companies over the last 25 years and has achieved strong returns in excess of 20 percent IRR throughout the cycle.

GRJ is a leading provider of escorted rail tours offering almost 400 itineraries to over 50 countries globally. GRJ caters for a growing demographic group of culturally interested 55+ year old travelers. The company served over 50,000 customers in 2017 with over half of volumes each year coming from its database. Over the last five years GRJ has performed strongly, tapping into new source markets for its rail tours including Australia and more recently the U.S., following the establishment of an office in New York in 2017. The business has also just launched, for summer 2019, a unique and highly differentiated rail based premium river cruise offering which builds upon very strong pre-existing demand for such holidays from within its customer database.

Harris Williams (www.harriswilliams.com), a subsidiary of the PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:PNC), is a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide. The firm has deep industry knowledge, global transaction expertise and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Harris Williams provides sell-side and acquisition advisory, restructuring advisory, board advisory, private placements and capital markets advisory services.

Harris Williams’ Consumer Group has completed more than 50 transactions in recent years across a variety of verticals, including branded consumer products; consumer services; food, beverage and agribusiness; and restaurant and retail. For more information on Harris Williams’ Consumer Group and other recent transactions, visit the Consumer Group’s section of the Harris Williams website.

Investment banking services are provided by Harris Williams LLC, a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC, and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd, which is a private limited company incorporated under English law with its registered office at 5th Floor, 6 St. Andrew Street, London EC4A 3AE, UK, registered with the Registrar of Companies for England and Wales (registration number 07078852). Harris Williams & Co. Ltd is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Harris Williams is a trade name under which Harris Williams LLC and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd conduct business.