TLT has advised the shareholders of The Mike Burton Group, a specialist sports travel provider and long-term partner of the British & Irish Lions and England Rugby, on its acquisition by Destination Sport Group. 

Since it was founded in 1981, The Mike Burton Group has led the way in creating and delivering major rights-holder branded supporter travel programmes to some of the world’s biggest sporting events. The business operates Lions Rugby Travel and England Rugby Travel, joint venture arrangements with the British & Irish Lions and England Rugby respectively, which have operated at every Rugby World Cup since 2007, the annual Six Nations Championship, as well as annual Lions Tours since 2013.

The business is also responsible for supporting travel for the Lions and England Rugby’s representative teams, while the wider Mike Burton Group delivers bespoke sports tours for clubs, schools, colleges and universities via the England Sports Tours brand, as well as through the England Rugby Travel joint venture.

The Mike Burton Group was founded by former Lions, England, and Gloucester prop forward Mike Burton, who is retiring as Chairman. At the time of the acquisition the company is still family owned and operated. The team at TLT acted as legal advisors to the family shareholders across all aspects of the deal.

With over 250 staff in 14 countries around the world, Destination Sport Group is a global leader in sports travel with expertise in travel management for elite sports clubs and governing bodies, supporter travel, youth development tours, endurance and participation travel plus global destination management. The acquisition will combine this expertise with that of The Mike Burton Group to promote the continued growth of both businesses. 

The team at TLT was led by corporate partner James Webb and Senior Associate Yervand Agobiani. 

Mike Burton, Founder of The Mike Burton Group, commented: “We are grateful to James, Yervand, and the team at TLT for their support. They took the time to really understand the business and our priorities and worked tirelessly to ensure a successful conclusion. We had total confidence in them throughout to deliver this deal, not least due to their professional, commercial and pragmatic approach. Above all they were a real pleasure to work with.”

James Webb, partner in the corporate team at TLT, commented: “It was great working with the shareholders and management team on the sale of this successful family business. The deal team was made up of experts from across the firm who are used to advising businesses in this sector. The sale demonstrates that successful local businesses will continue to attract interest and investment regardless of wider trends in the M&A market. The sale is further recognition of the fantastic business that Mike and his family have built and we wish the business every success for the future under its new ownership.”


Date published

04 October 2023

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