International private equity company purchases iconic New Zealand-based tourism company

One of Australia’s fastest-growing funds management businesses has made its first investment into New Zealand reflecting its positive view on the country’s booming tourism sector.

A consortium led by Blue Sky Alternative Investments has bought Queenstown-based Active Adventures, a tourism company that offers fully-guided, all-inclusive small group adventures in New Zealand, Nepal, Europe and South America.

Following a lengthy sales process, a deal was completed on Tuesday August 1st.

It’s business as usual for the company’s 30 staff and 60 guides scattered around the world, although the sale is a significant step for the continued growth of the business.

Blue Sky’s private equity investment director Nick Miller and Blue Sky investment associate Ben Milton will join the Active Adventures board.

The Blue Sky consortium also includes Australian businessman Brett Godfrey, the former co-founder and CEO of Virgin Blue and current deputy chairman of Tourism Australia and Auckland Airport.

The final member of the investment consortium is New Zealand-born and Sydney-based Scott Malcolm, who has over 20 years’ experience in the investment banking industry in Australia and the USA. He founded independent corporate advisory firm
Greenstone Partners in 2003 and is chairman of the CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust.

Immediately preceding the sale, the company’s three shareholders were Robin Wiseley, Phil Boorman and Michelle Trapski.

Under the new partnership arrangement, Mr Boorman has divested his shares in the company, while Mr Wiseley and Ms Trapski retain a significant shareholding in Active Adventures. Mr Wiseley and Ms Trapski both join the new board.

Reflecting on the last few years in business, Mr Wiseley described it as “one of the most rewarding professional and personal experiences” he had ever had.

He said the new board was a highly passionate, motivated and skilled group with very impressive business and governance credentials.

Brewing coffee on an Active Adventures expedition

Brewing coffee on an Active Adventures expedition

“This new partnership will own and operate this company into the future, and it’s a very exciting future,” he said.

“Over the last four years we’ve enjoyed amazing growth, more than doubling our turnover, adding new destinations to our business and our new brand New Zealand Walking tours, launched in April.

“The company has grown to a point where we were able to attract the skills and investment capabilities of our new partners.

“Blue Sky has brought a very clever and passionate team of young professionals to the business. We have the right partners in the right company at the right time, when Active Adventures is poised to realise the next phase of its future growth potential.

“There are so many options in terms of growth through acquisition, development of new niche brands and potentially new offshore destinations.

“We’re very impressed with Blue Sky’s levels of integrity and attention to detail which is why we chose them as partners, and I’m very confident in Michelle and the incredible team we have built here to take the company into the future.”

“From a business perspective, this brings additional levels of governance and expertise to the table, but for clients nothing has changed. They will continue to experience the same level of hospitality, attention to detail and personalised service that Active Adventures is renowned for.”

Brewing coffee on an Active Adventures expedition

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