Thomas Cook India Group has acquired a 51% stake in Digiphoto Entertainment Imaging (DEI) a major imaging solutions brand at an enterprise value of USD 42 Million (Rs 289 crores).
Established in 2004, Digiphoto Entertainment Imaging focuses on imaging solutions for the attractions industry, offering an end-to-end turnkey model by providing equipment, software, talent and operations consultation to its business partners.
With a network of over 120 partners, DEI has more than 250 venues spanning over 14 countries (Singapore, UAE, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, China, USA, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Mauritius, Maldives, Egypt, India and Kuwait). In 2018, DEI completed 3.6 million transactions.
Thomas Cook (India) Chairman and Managing Director Madhavan Menon says DEI is a true entrepreneurship success story. He says the acquisition marks the Thomas Cook India Group’s entry into a complementary sector to its travel-related services portfolio. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.
“Our acquisition of DEI presents the Thomas Cook India Group an opportunity to participate in an exciting new business space, adjacent to our core travel services portfolio that is both PAT and free cash accretive from day one. DEI is an entrepreneurial success story with an impressive and proven track record of leadership, growth and profitability,” says Menon.
Menon elaborates on both organizations’ market synergies which he claims will deliver longer term shareholder value.
“With several key markets in common, the addition of Ram and his team at DEI to our family, also presents new synergistic opportunities leveraging our travel services across 25 countries. We see an immediate opportunity for our outbound customers from India and Hong Kong, as well as our inbound and DMS customers across our global network. With the growing demand for experiential travel and social sharing, DEI’s partnerships with iconic attractions, theme parks, water parks and resorts will further enhance our travel services portfolio in line with our philosophy of creating long term shareholder value,” says Menon.
Founder and President of DEI K.S. Ramakrishnan agrees.
“Our synergy with Thomas Cook India Group in the travel and tourism ecosystem strengthens DEI’s position in our existing markets while giving us immense reach to expand. DEI is leading the digital transformation of the guest photo journey through NFC, facial recognition and other state of the art proprietary technology enabling the guest to receive and share their memories in real time. We are proud to be part of a globally renowned travel and tourism leader, the Thomas Cook India Group. Innovation being key to DEI’s core entrepreneurial spirit with focus on long-term partnerships aligns us perfectly with the vision and ethos of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited,” says Ramakrishnan.
Since 2012, Ramakrishnan says it tactically positioned Singapore as its regional headquarters to serve growing demand in the South East Asian market.
“The importance of this location was reinforced by the extension of DEI’s 10-year partnership with Wildlife Reserves Singapore and One Faber Group; operator of several attractions in Sentosa. DEI’s partnership with Marina Bay Sands was also renewed recently, strengthening our presence in Singapore,” says Ramakrishnan.
Having a firm foot hold in South East Asia, Ramakrishnan says it aims to “aggressively” expand its presence into Greater China, including Hong Kong SAR.
DEI’s proprietary imaging solution has enabled payment gateway localisation for the local Chinese market expanding into AliPay and WeChat Pay. DEI’s local hosting and content distribution is in compliance with local privacy policies, allowing guests to share content on Chinese social media channels like We Chat, Sina Weibo, QQ and Qzone.
Based on current tourism trends, Ramakrishnan says it views the Far East as a pivotal region and potentially, a major contributor of revenue over the next 5 years. He says it intends to focus on rapid growth over the preceding years in this belt.
DEI captures customer experiences by providing imaging services and solutions. In 15 years of retail operations, DEI claims it expanded from a single location to over 250 venues across 14 countries. DEI’s solutions are built on enterprise-wide technology, focused on aggregating images across attractions, and for every individual guest. DEI says this allows for efficient archiving and swift retrieval of images on demand. DEI claims its continuous innovation delivers guests’ images from multiple retail points as well as personal consumer devices through its online and mobile app solutions.
DEI’s partner attractions encompass waterparks, theme parks, aquariums, towers and resorts, including popular tourist attractions in Singapore (Universal Studios Singapore, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Zoo), Hong Kong (Ngong Ping 360), Macau (Macau Tower, The Venetian), the UAE (At The Top Burj Khalifa, Ski Dubai, Wild Wadi Waterpark, Warner Brothers, Ferrari World), Malaysia (PETRONAS Twin Towers, Resorts World Genting), China (Atlantis Sanya, Chimelong Safari Park), India (Ramoji Film City, Imagica, Wonderla Holidays Ltd.), Maldives (Taj Exotica, W Retreat & Spa, Shangri-La Villingili), Mauritius (St. Regis Mauritius Resort, Shanti Maurice Resort & Spa), Indonesia (Waterbom Bali, Bali Zoo, Trans Studio), Egypt (Ski Egypt, KidZania), Thailand (Ramayana Water Park, Vana Nava Water Jungle), USA (Hard Rock Cafe New York, Mangoes Tropical Cafe and Gaylord.
In 2017, DEI launched KlassAkt, its school photography arm. Since then, DEI claims it has already partnered with more than 90 schools across the UAE and India, including the GEMS group of schools in the UAE, the Oberoi International School, Jamnabai Narsee International School and Aditya Birla World Academy in Mumbai, India.
About Thomas Cook (India) Limited
Founded in 1881, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. (TCIL) is an integrated travel and travel related financial services company offering services that include Foreign Exchange, Corporate Travel, MICE, Leisure Travel, Insurance, Visa and Passport services and E-Business. It operates leading B2C and B2B brands including Thomas Cook, SOTC, TCI, SITA, Asian Trails, Allied T Pro, Australian Tours Management, Desert Adventures, Travel Circle International Limited, Private Safaris East & South Africa.
Thomas Cook India Group spans 25 countries across 5 continents, with a combined revenue in excess of Rs. 11,411.6 Cr. (over USD 1.75 Billion).