The Carlyle Group invests US$40m in Nigeria’s online travel agency Wakanow

NIGERIA – The American alternative asset management and financial services corporation, The Carlyle Group has announced that it will invest US$40 million in one of West Africa’s largest online travel agencies, Wakanow.com.

According to the private firm, the equity will come from its Sub-Saharan Africa fund and according to Wakanow, it will enable expansion across Africa as well beyond the continent.

Based in Nigeria, Wakanow.com Limited has focused-operations in West and East Africa, providing customers with a one-stop online booking portal for flights, hotels, holiday packages, and other travel services and ancillaries.

It also operates a network of traditional brick-and-mortar travel centres and has operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, UAE and the UK.

“We are excited to partner with Carlyle as we continue to grow and expand in Africa and beyond.

Carlyle’s global footprint and scale as well as its extensive experience and network in the online travel sector will help us to further develop our offerings and broaden our customer base,” said Obinna Ekezie, co-Founder and CEO, Wakanow.

Founded in 1987 in Washington, D.C., by William E. Conway Jr., Daniel A. D’Aniello, and David Rubenstein, The Carlyle Group specializes in corporate private equity, real assets, global credit, and investments.

Wakanow is set to benefit from Carlyle’s experience in the online travel including in C-trip, one of the major online travel agencies operating across China, the Latin American travel and tour operator CVC Brazil, and Vasco Turismo, one of the largest travel operations groups in Peru.

It has also invested in Booz Allen Hamilton, Dex Media, Dunkin’ Brands, Freescale Semiconductor, Getty Images, HCR Manor Care, Hertz, Kinder Morgan, Nielsen, United Defense, and other companies.

“Wakanow has experienced incredible growth since inception, disrupting the travel market and taking market share both online and offline.

We believe that this strong growth trajectory will continue as Wakanow benefits from an expanding middle class across the continent in addition to increasing internet penetration and mobile connectivity, which is driving increased online traffic.

We look forward to working with Wakanow’s management team to help them deliver on their vision for growth and expansion,” said Idris Mohammed, Managing Director, The Carlyle Group.

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