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Sportsworld to be sold off by owner TUI

The sale of the corporate hospitality firm is part of travel operator TUI’s plans to sell its Specialist Group

Pictured: Corporate groups will get unrivalled views of the action at this year's Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series - Portsmouth

Corporate hospitality firm Sportsworld is set to be sold off as part of a disposal by owners TUI.

The sale comes as part of travel operator TUI’s plans to sell its Specialist Group, invest in growth and strengthen its balance sheet. Sportsworld is one of more than 50 brands and companies that forms TUI’s Specialist Group, and offers corporate hospitality packages at top sporting events and also operates a event management division, Bespoke Events.

Fritz Joussen, CEO of TUI Group, said: “The Specialist Group is a great collection of more than 50 brands and successful companies. However, there is little vertical integration with the core tourism businesses. 

“In addition, the potential impact on profitability and the large amount of brands are strong strategic arguments not to combine the portfolio under the TUI brand. 

“Therefore, we believe that a disposal of Specialist Group in one transaction is the best way to maximise value from these businesses for TUI’s shareholders. It will also enable us to quickly focus on the strategic imperatives outlined and strengthen TUI and its international competitiveness.”

A spokeswoman for Specialist Group said: “Going forward the group will be renamed Travelopia. It is very much business as usual for all of the brands within the group.  

“At this stage it is very much about preparing for the sale of Specialist Group.  We don’t know who the buyer will be and will of course explore all opportunities.” 

The transaction is expected to conclude during the first half of fiscal year 2016/17.  

TUI announced a pre-tax loss of €319m (£251.3m) for the six months ended 31 March 2016, up from a loss of €371m (£293.3m) for the same period last year.

Turnover increased 2.7 per cent to €6.8bn (£5.38bn) in the first half of 2016, a year on year increase of €6.6bn (£5.33bn).

Last month TUI agreed to sell online booking company Hotelbeds to private equity firm Cinven and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, while in October it also sold LateRooms to travel company Cox & King.

Meanwhile, Sportsworld has unveiled new corporate hospitality packages for this year's Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series - Portsmouth 2016. The Victory Lounge will include a grinder challenge and mini sailing races. 

Claire Brand, managing director – event services, Sportsworld said: "The Victory Lounge is the ‘must attend’ hospitality event of the year. Guests will be right in the heart of the excitement to see the best sailors and the world’s fastest flying boats - the magnificent foiling, wing-sailed 45ft catamarans - taking to the water.

"The sport is obviously the core entertainment, however we have used both high and low tech to create a multi layered interactive environment that immerses and entertains guests throughout the day; before, during and after the racing."

The Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series will take place on 21-24 July.

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