Bourne End, UK – March 2nd 2021: Leading UK gift experience provider Virgin Experience Days will acquire the whole of Cloud 9 Living’s US operations.
The two brands are leaders in their domestic gift experience markets, with Virgin Experience Days using the acquisition as a springboard for further growth into a US gift experience market estimated at $1bn with substantial scope for future development.
As part of the Virgin family, Cloud 9 Living will be rebranded as Virgin Experience Gifts in the US. Plans for the business include deeper expansion into certain US geographies, broadening the product range on offer and introducing unique and exclusive experiences that have successfully differentiated the proposition in the UK.
Virgin Experience Days and Cloud 9 Living currently offer consumers and corporate clients a choice of over 4,000 experiences. Combined, they account for almost 1.4million purchases each year in a resilient gifting market poised for growth as consumers increasingly change their purchasing habits to favour experiences over tangible gifts. In 2019, Virgin Experience Days recorded a 92% annual increase in UK Black Friday sales, while a 2018 Eventbrite survey revealed that 63% of US adults would prefer to receive an experience gift over a material gift.
The gift experience sector is also uniquely poised to capitalise on the current rise in demand for staycations and pent-up consumer demand for much missed experiences as social restrictions are eased. Some £125bn of personal savings accrued during the pandemic in the UK alone. Despite the impact of the pandemic, Virgin Experience Days has continued to support consumer demand with extensive forward bookings as consumers crave an experience to look forward to, alongside its diversification into a virtual offering which has allowed thousands of consumers to enjoy experiences at home.
Cloud 9 Living joins the Virgin family at an exciting time for the brand in the US, with successful growing brands including Virgin Hotels, Virgin Voyages, Virgin Hyperloop and those shooting for the stars at Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit.
On the acquisition, Virgin Experience Days CEO Richard Hurd-Wood comments, “This acquisition marks an exciting chapter for the Virgin Experience Days brand in the US. The Virgin brand has strong recognition already in the US and the acquisition of Cloud 9 Living bolsters our product proposition around extraordinary experiences for people to enjoy together. We have no doubt that shared, enriching experiences represent the future of gifting”.
Cloud 9 Living says, “We are thrilled to be joining the Virgin brand family. The opportunity in the U.S. experience gift market is enormous and largely untapped. Merging with an industry leader like Virgin Experience Days will enable us to rapidly accelerate growth as we work towards making unforgettable experiences the #1 gift of choice here in the U.S.”
About Virgin Experience Days
Launched in 1988, Virgin Experience Days is the leading UK provider of gift experiences. Whether it’s a birthday, a thank you, a farewell or a just because they deserve it – there’s an experience to make it exceptional.
From short breaks, spa days and Michelin-starred fine dining, to adrenaline-fuelled driving days, skydives and balloon flights, Virgin Experience Days has over 2,000 extraordinary and wonderful ways to celebrate every occasion.
About Cloud 9 Living
Founded in 2005, Cloud 9 Living has always believed that giving a gift should be more meaningful than just fulfilling an obligation; it should be about showing your recipient that you took time to find something they will truly love and remember for years.
Since launch, Cloud 9 Living has established itself as the industry leader in the U.S. experience gift market by committing itself to providing the best and most diverse selection of experiences (over 2,000 nationwide) alongside legendary customer service.
About Inflexion Private Equity Partners
Inflexion is a mid-market private equity firm which invests in high growth, entrepreneurial businesses and works in partnership with their ambitious management teams to accelerate growth. Inflexion’s flexible approach allows it to back both majority and minority investments, typically investing £10m to £300m of equity in each deal.
With bespoke teams and dedicated capital, Inflexion’s funds invest across a variety of sectors from offices in London, Manchester and Amsterdam as well as Bangalore, Boston, Sao Paulo and Shanghai. Inflexion helps businesses achieve the next stage of their development through M&A, international expansion, digital enhancement, talent management, commercial strategy, and access to the Inflexion network.
In 2020 Inflexion retained a leading position in Preqin’s annual global league table for consistently top performing buyout funds. It is the only UK fund to be ranked in the top 10. Inflexion has also won a number of industry accolades for its success in growing the businesses it backs.
Funds advised by Inflexion Private Equity Partners LLP have approximately £5.4bn under management. Read more at www.inflexion.com
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