Trainline, a French portfolio company of global private equity firm KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE: KKR), has acquired Captain Train, combining two of Europe’s leading digital rail ticket retailers to create the new leader in the European market. The deal was reportedly valued at over €200 million ($222 million), according to Le Figaro.
Trainline was acquired by KKR from buyout firm Exponent in March 2015, for £425 to £450 million ($681 million).
Captain Train had previously raised $11.9 million in 3 funding rounds, from venture capital firms Alven Capital, CM-CIC Capital Privé and Index Ventures, as well as angel investors Pierre Bonelli and Xavier Neil, founder and majority shareholder of French ISP Iliad and Kima Ventures.
The combined business will offer customers across the globe simple access to European rail travel, and will allow Trainline to benefit from the massive growth and transformation that is taking place in the £44 billion European rail industry.
The acquisition combines the number one independent rail ticket retailers in both the UK and Continental Europe to deliver a ‘one-stop-shop’ for rail travel across Europe, providing access to 22 countries and 36 operators across the continent.
Passengers will be able to book tickets across Europe with just a few clicks, safe in the knowledge that they are booking at the best available fares. Business customers, including corporations, travel booking tools and travel management companies, will benefit from a consolidated source for European rail information.
“For too long, booking rail tickets in Europe has been an overwhelming and complicated process for customers,” said Clare Gilmartin, CEO of Trainline. “With this acquisition, Trainline is making European rail travel easier and more accessible than ever before. Joining forces with Captain Train means that within a couple of clicks, any customer will be able to travel in Europe by train, something that today is really difficult to do. It should be easy to buy a rail ticket – simple to book, transparency on the best fares, no queuing in stations and a great customer service experience overall.”
“We share the same ambition, and it was a natural step for us to decide to work with Trainline,” said Jean-Daniel Guyot, CEO of Captain Train. “The complementary nature of our offerings and the scope of the markets that we will cover will enable us to reach our shared objective of making rail travel in Europe easier.”
“One year ago when KKR first invested in Trainline we had the vision of creating the clear global leader in digital rail mobility. The combination of Trainline and Captain Train is an important step on this journey, and will bring together a management team of world class talent in rail, tech, product and marketing,” commented KKR’s head of Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) in Europe, Philipp Freise.
Clare Gilmartin will serve as the CEO of the group; Jean-Daniel Guyot will remain the CEO of Captain Train and is becoming director of Trainline International. Daniel Beutler remains the COO of Captain Train and becomes business development director of Trainline International. He will also remain the key contact for European train operators.
Trainline is the UK’s number one independent provider of rail tickets and journey planning and the number one independent train travel app in the UK. Founded in 1997 and with £1.6 billion ticket transactions annually, there are 28.8 million visits to the Trainline App and website each month. The company was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in London, UK.
Captain Train provides an online booking platform and a mobile app that allows customers to book train tickets without any hassle and at the best price. Captain Train already covers 19 European countries and combines the offers of a large number of rail companies, which allows customers to book a huge variety of train tickets. Captain Train has more than 1.6 million registered users and currently sells over 5,000 tickets daily. The company was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Paris, France.
KKR, founded in 1976 and headquartered in New York City, is a leading global investment firm that manages investments across multiple asset classes including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate, credit and hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world‐class people, and driving growth and value creation at the asset level. KKR invests its own capital alongside its partners’ capital and brings opportunities to others through its capital markets business. As of December 31, 2015, the firm had $120 billion in assets under management.