Foto Patrick Cepero High Res

After the sale of 'his' to the German e-hoi, founder Patrick Cépèro remained on board as director for a while. He looks back with great satisfaction on both the sales process and the subsequent period. "In such a complex sales process, you really can't do without an external advisor."

Patrick Cépèro

Patrick: "When I co-founded Cruisewinkel with a partner in 2005, we were among the pioneering providers in the travel industry to offer an online booking system. However, over time, competitors emulated our model and evolved rapidly. We were faced with two options: either we drastically overhaul our website, or we sell the company to a reputable entity.

Ultimately, the decision fell on the latter option. While I was confident we could find a suitable buyer ourselves, my business partner – who at that time was only a shareholder – persuaded me of the value of engaging an external advisor. This led us to engage Rembrandt Mergers & Acquisitions; a proficient team with whom we immediately connected. The fact that Rabobank is a shareholder added an extra layer of confidence.

We engaged with Rembrandt M&A; a proficient team with whom we immediately established a strong rapport.

After several preliminary discussions and the valuation process, we embarked on a quest together to find a suitable buyer. Ultimately, we settled on e-hoi, a comparable German online provider of cruises and vacation rentals. I was already acquainted with e-hoi's CEO, Detlev Schäferjohann, from the travel industry, and negotiations ensued swiftly. Such a sales process is always filled with anticipation. At one point, there was some disagreement regarding the underlying figures. As a compromise, we agreed upon an earn-out structure, stipulating that I would remain as the director of e-hoi Benelux for an additional three years.

Honestly, it was quite an adjustment. I had initially intended to remain on board for at most another six months, but those plans have now been disrupted. Furthermore, as a fiercely independent entrepreneur, I had never truly worked under a boss before. Fortunately, Detlev assured me that I would have a significant degree of autonomy.

That has fully materialized; Detlev relied entirely on my expertise and genuinely regarded me as his equal. In hindsight, I certainly have no regrets about how it unfolded. In fact, together we pursued two additional acquisitions – of Zeetours and Cruise Travel – and decided, in consultation, to extend my tenure as director even further. Ultimately, in the spring of 2022 – after successfully navigating through the challenging period of the pandemic – I eventually stepped down as director and transitioned to a role solely as an advisor to the company.

Without a doubt, I'd choose Rembrandt again.

Looking back now, many years later, I reflect on the sales process with an overwhelmingly positive sentiment. Acting on behalf of Rembrandt, Ferdi Kramer adeptly extracted emotion from the process and aligned us with the perfect partner. My former business partner's insight was indeed astute: in such a complex sales process, an external advisor is indispensable. I would certainly choose Rembrandt again without hesitation."

"Furthermore, both of these enterprises engaged Rembrandt M&A as their advisor during the sale process."

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