The Figaro group has entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire 100% of the shares of Marco Vasco, a specialist online provider of custom travel solutions in order to create France’s second-largest provider of tailor-made travel products.

Founded in 2007 by Geoffroy de Becdelièvre and Mathieu Bouchara, Marco Vasco is a French tour operator that specializes in providing personalized online travel solutions. The group has successfully obtained several rounds of funding from Alven, Iris Capital and GIMV, as well as Olivier Duha, the co-founder of Webhelp, who invested privately in the group.

Marco Vasco operates in the fast-growing customized travel sector, with 150 travel consultants (all of whom are either local to or passionate about their destination) provide off-the-beaten-track experiences while emphasizing the highest service standards. Marco Vasco, which employs 240 people, will record annual revenues of over €65 million in 2017 in a high-growth environment.

The Figaro group has been pursuing a successful strategy of diversifying its “non-media” activities for several years. In particular, it has a presence in the market for services such as job advertisements, real estate, and training via Figaro Classifieds and in weather forecasting via La Chaîne Météo, as well as e-commerce operations (including online show ticketing via Ticketac) and travel, with custom cruise and travel solutions being provided via Les Maisons du Voyage.

The proposed transaction would enable the Figaro group to consolidate its diversification strategy by strengthening its position in the specialist, luxury travel market.

Coming less than a year after the acquisition of Maisons du Voyage, the Figaro group is positioning itself as a key player in consolidation the sector. The acquisition of Marco Vasco will turn the Figaro group’s travel hub into France’s second largest provider of specialist, tailor-made travel solutions, with annual revenues of €120M, and the two agencies, having already proven the success of their business models throughout their history, are highly complementary with each having its own distinct competencies.

Together, the Figaro group’s marketing support, access to the media, its digital expertise and the quality of its databases will provide the new unit with further leverage to accelerate its growth.

The planned acquisition will be submitted for review and consultation to Marco Vasco’s works council and to the relevant competition authorities for approval.