Trainline was launched in 1997 to sell rail tickets through the internet and call-centres and has since its establishment developed a robust IT platform with a strong focus on customer-driven innovation. In 2006 Trainline was acquired by Exponent Private Equity from a consortium of shareholders including Virgin, Stagecoach and National Express transport groups.
Working alongside Exponent the company underwent an unprecedented growth and established itself as a market leader with 4.7 million active customers. It has developed the most downloaded travel mobile app in the UK and in addition to its consumer offering, it also provides rail booking solutions for large corporate entities and supports the online sales platforms of a number of train operating companies.
The sale to KKR comes at the time when Trainline is uniquely positioned to capitalise on the significant growth opportunities driven by the systemic shift to online in rail, growth of mobile commerce especially suited to travel as well as international opportunities.
The Travers Smith team, which advised Exponent on the sale to KKR, was led by private equity partners Lucie Cawood and Ian Shawyer, who were supported by corporate associate William Young and tax partner Russell Warren.
Other advisers on the transaction included Simpson Thacher & Bartlett who represented KKR.
The transaction is notable for the fact that Trainline announced an intention to float in early January. Travers Smith's team acting on the IPO deal incorporated head of corporate Spencer Summerfield, corporate partner Adrian West and US securities partner Charles Casassa. Both teams worked closely with Neil Murrin, Legal and HR Director and the senior management team at Trainline.