New York-based private equity firm acquires stake in Getaroom

United States: The co-founders of Getaroom.com have sold a majority stake in the business-to-business hotel and vacation rental provider to New York-based private equity firm, Court Square Capital Partners.

Getaroom President, Bob Diener, said he and Dave Litman, long term business partner and Getaroom CEO, retain a substantial minority stake in the company but have sold the larger stake to accelerate its expansion internationally.

Diener and Litman co-founded Hotels.com in 1991 before selling their majority stake in that company to USA Networks in 1999. The former said the pair held more of a stake in Getaroom after this Court Square Deal than they did after selling Hotels.com.

Neither Getaroom nor Court Square disclosed further terms included within the deal but with up to 500 employees, a company-owned call centre and four additional centres, Diener said Getaroom would achieve more than $1 billion in gross sales in 2018.

He said Getaroom had been self-funded until now, and has been profitable for the past five or six years.

The Dallas-based company launched in 2009 initially as a hotel-booking site for consumers before emerging as a business-to-business hotel and vacation rental provider for online travel agencies, metasearch sites, airlines, destination sites and membership clubs.

Getaroom contracts with hotels for published rates and offers accommodation at national chain and independent boutique properties in an array of destinations across the United States and Europe.

Speaking about the Court Square sale, Diener said: “Nothing has changed in the day-to-day but we now have a faster growth trajectory and we have more resources.”

He also said there would be no redundancies, and Getaroom would remain as the name of the company.

The Court Square firm in New York specialises in mid-size companies and already has an extensive travel and international portfolio with over 220 investments completed in the last three decades.

In addition to owning Germany-based car rental firm Auto Europe, it used to own global distribution system Worldspan under Court Square’s former name, Citigroup Venture Capital Equity Partners.

Diener said: “Our door was banged and knocked on a lot in the last couple of years,”

He has now opted to sell so it could reach the “next level”, owing to Court Square’s tech resources, financial stature, and international experience from their New York base.

Diener said the company offers around 200,000 hotels and 10,000 professionally managed vacation rentals.

The Getaroom-Court Square deal was agreed on 23 August, but has only now been reported.

Houlihan Lokey served as a financial advisor to Getaroom, with Lidji Dorey & Hooper offering legal advice. Dechert LLP served as a legal advisor to Court Square.

Earlier this month, Rented.com CEO Andrew McConnell spoke to STRz and said that the “gold rush” of investment in the vacation rental sector is only in its early stages.

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