GREENWICH — Private equity firm L Catterton has announced a $150 million investment in Latin America-focused online travel agency Despegar, the latest of several major deals it has made in the industry.
Private equity firm L Catterton is headquartered at at 599 West Putnam Ave., in Greenwich, Conn.
The transaction comes amid COVID-19’s rampant spread in the region. Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Colombia and Chile have cumulatively recorded nearly 6 million coronavirus cases and each rank among the 10 countries with the most cases, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center. But officials at Greenwich-based L Catterton said that they were still sanguine about Despegar’s prospects.
“As the leading online travel agency in Latin America with strong brand recognition, Despegar has significant potential to continue driving growth in a highly attractive market,” Dirk Donath, managing partner of L Catterton Latin America, said in a statement. “We believe Despegar is well positioned to succeed over the long term as the travel industry recovers.”
Despegar operates in 20 countries across Latin America through its global brand, Despegar, and its Brazilian brand, Decolar. Those two names are, respectively, Spanish and Portuguese verbs for “take off.”
The company’s websites and mobile apps offer products from more than 270 airlines and more than 690,000 accommodation options, according to L Catterton.
The investment in Despegar marks L Catterton’s third recent transaction in the travel industry. Previous investments included $400 million in NCL Corp., a subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, and $75 million in OneSpaWorld Holdings, a provider of health and wellness services and products to cruise ships and resorts around the world.
Among other major deals it has made in the past couple of years, L Catterton last year acquired for $650 million Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, which includes Barcelona Wine Bar and Bartaco, two of southwestern Connecticut’s most-popular upscale restaurant chains.
Barcelona and Bartaco are being run separately under L Catterton’s ownership, with their own strategies and leadership teams.
Describing itself as the “largest consumer-focused private equity firm in the world,” L Catterton operates with about $20 billion of equity capital.
Its workforce comprises nearly 200 investment and operating professionals, who are based across 17 offices around the world. Its headquarters are at 599 W. Putnam Ave.
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