17 December 2007, Boston - Travel retailer Hudson Group has signed a definitive agreement with global private equity firm Advent International, based in Boston, making Advent the majority owner. The introduction of Advent will support a variety of exciting growth opportunities for Hudson.
Hudson Group operates over 550 newsstands, bookstores, cafes and specialty retail concessions in 69 airports and transportation terminals throughout the United States and Canada, including more than 400 Hudson News stores, the only national newsstand brand in the industry. Revenues are set to top $630M in 2007.
With Advent, Hudson will leverage its position as the premier travel retailer in North America, enabling future strategic acquisitions and the global expansion of the brand. The existing management team, led by president and founder Mario DiDomizio and executive vice president and COO Joseph DiDomizio, will continue to manage the business. The transaction is subject to certain approvals and customary closing conditions. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Joseph DiDomizio said: “We selected Advent because of their specialization in retail and airport-related investments worldwide. With Advent’s financial strength and industry expertise, Hudson Group will be able to take our business to an entirely new level of performance, creating tremendous opportunities for our employees, partners and customers.”
“Hudson’s successful track record in airport retailing speaks for itself – the company has been a driving force in changing the face of airport concessions,” said David Mussafer, managing director and head of Advent International’s North American deal group. “We are excited to partner with them to help build on their success and expand the company domestically and overseas.”
Hudson Group has been privately held since its inception in 1987. The company’s owners, James and Robert Cohen, will retain a minority stake. Noted James Cohen: “We believe that we are entering a period of dramatically improved financial returns for Hudson.”
Hudson is Advent International’s tenth investment in travel-related businesses – the most by any private equity firm – with activities spanning food and beverage, duty-free retail and airport concessions. Food and beverage investments include Aerocomidas, Mexico’s leading airport restaurant and bar operator; Grupo RA, the No. 1 operator of restaurant concessions in Brazil’s main airports; and La Mansión, a leading casual dining restaurant chain in Mexico that has expanded into airports. Advent’s duty-free investments include Dufry, a leading global travel retailer; Brasif, the leading Brazilian travel retail operator; and Aeroboutiques, the largest duty-free operator in Mexico. Investments in airport concessions include Fumisa, the commercial operator of Mexico City International Airport; Aeroplazas, commercial developer of the Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara airports; and AMAIT, operator of the Toluca International Airport in Mexico.
Advent’s broader retail experience comprises investments in numerous specialty retail, discount retail, and food and beverage businesses around the world. Selected investments include lululemon athletica, the premier athletic and yoga apparel specialty retailer; HMV, one of the world’s leading retailers of music, DVDs and books; Fat Face, the U.K.’s leading active lifestyle clothing retailer; Dollar Express, a U.S. single-price retailer; and Elior, Europe’s third-largest contracted food-service business.