Secret Escapes Group, the world’s leading online travel deals company, is delighted to have agreed the acquisition of Empathy Marketing Limited (“EML”), Ireland’s leading marketplace for premium hospitality and e-commerce offers. The acquisition is due to complete in February 2019.
Founded in 2000, EML is owner of the popular Pigsback.com and counts over 1 million active members in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland across its brands, which also include other premium offers sites including: TheDiningRoom.ie, LuxuryBreaks.ie, Pamper.ie, JustGolf.ie and TreatTicket.ie in Northern Ireland.
This transaction will give Secret Escapes Group a strong foothold in Ireland, offering its customers access to the best offers in Ireland, an increasingly popular travel destination. The acquisition follows its expansion across Europe with the acquisition of Travelist in 2014 and Slevomat, central and eastern Europe’s leading travel deals and experiences company, in 2017. Secret Escapes Group also recently acquired the activity and assets of TravelBird, the Dutch online travel deals company.
Pigsback.com, launched in 2000, is the market leader at the premium end of the Irish deals market, and in 2018 was used by over 900 different merchants from hotels to restaurants to golf courses to goods suppliers. As part of the Secret Escapes Group, Pigsback.com and EML’s brands will have access to a broader, international audience, offering EML’s hospitality and e-commerce partners greater reach. Members of EML’s platforms will also have access to an unrivalled selection of offers and travel deals.
Pigsback.com and the other EML websites will continue to be managed by Michael Dwyer, EML’s Executive Chairman, and John McDonald, Chief Operating Officer, along with the full existing management team. EML has grown sales by over 200% since 2016, reporting revenues of €5.7 million in 2017 with operating profit rising to €1 million.
Alex Saint, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Secret Escapes Group, commented: “We are very pleased to be acquiring Empathy Marketing Limited. We have long been impressed by the quality of the brand and the strength of its position in the highly attractive Irish market. Pigsback.com and EML’s other brands are highly complementary to our existing businesses and we see the potential for their continued growth as part of the Group, as we continue to strengthen and expand our international presence.”Michael Dwyer, Executive Chairman of EML, said:“We are very excited about the future of the company as part of the Secret Escapes Group. We have admired the Secret Escapes brand since it launched in 2011. The deal is a great opportunity for all of our stakeholders and provides Pigsback.com and our other brands with the best platform from which to realise our full potential and maximise its future success. Our partners in hospitality and e-commerce will benefit from the significant reach from Secret Escapes Group’s channels, while our members will also benefit from increased foreign travel offers. We are looking forward to a bright future for our team and business as part of the Secret Escapes Group.”