Zip World is set to fly

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Zip World, the award-winning outdoor adventure business which features the world’s fastest zip line, has secured a significant minority investment from leading mid-market private equity investor LDC, supported by the company’s existing banking partner, HSBC. The deal values the business at £45m.

Advised by Blake Morgan, the business runs adventure experiences across three scenic locations in the iconic Snowdonia mountain range in North Wales. It offers multiple activities including ziplines, an alpine rollercoaster, treetop adventure courses and subterranean playgrounds equipped with high-rope walks and nets.

Its site in Penrhyn Quarry is home to the world’s fastest zipwire Velocity 2, on which riders can travel at speeds of up to 125mph, and it boasts Europe’s highest giant swing Skyride at its location in Fforest.

LDC’s investment will support Zip World’s ongoing growth strategy as it looks to add new attractions to its current sites and rollout its adventure experiences across the UK and beyond. The business is aiming to bring its exhilarating adventure experience to more customers with its ambition to double in size over the next three years.

Zip World, which was founded five years ago, has grown rapidly and today welcomes more than 400,000 adventure seekers to its sites each year. It now generates revenues of more than £14m.

A 2018 study by North Wales Tourism calculated that Zip World had directly contributed £251million to the local economy over the last five years.

LDC is backing Zip World’s ambitious management team, led by co-founder, Sean Taylor, and Managing Director David Stacey. Sean, an award-winning entrepreneur, has driven the strategy and growth of the business and David brings more than 23 years’ experience of running multi-site leisure businesses and was UK Operations Director at Virgin Active, before he joined Zip World in 2016.

Sean Taylor, director and co-founder of Zip World, said: “Having built an exciting brand in the adventure tourism sector, we are focused on scaling up and will be looking to acquire additional sites as part of our ongoing expansion strategy.

“We are incredibly confident in the future of the adventure tourism industry and have ambitions to deliver Zip World’s iconic experiences to more customers and create more unique new attractions. LDC shares our enthusiasm and vision and we now have the additional capital and expertise needed to fire up our growth plans in Wales and beyond.

"I was delighted with the expertise and advice provided by Blake Morgan who continue to deliver high quality advice, support and commitment to the Zip World group at every stage of the process.   I was particularly impressed with their ability to deliver effective and pragmatic advice ensuring that the deal completed within the agreed timescales and it meant that I had confidence that all of the important legal aspects of the deal were being dealt with effectively.  I would happily recommend Blake Morgan to others."

Richard Jones of Blake Morgan said: “Zip World has grown to become one of Wales’ leading brands. We are really proud to be supporting the business as they embark on the next stage of their ambitious plans. We wish them every success.”