A $471 Million Exit From The Online Travel Industry

August 9, 2019 |  

About this episode


From a standing start, Dinesh Dhamija grew European online travel agency eBookers to more than one billion in sales in just five years.

To read a transcript of this episode, click here.

After two successful financing rounds, Dhamija still owned 40% of eBookers stock which represented virtually his entire net worth. Dhamija decided it was time to sell. He quickly got six acquirers interested, and sold eBookers to Cendant (owners of brands like Orbitz and Avis among others) for $471 million.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Where to find the most natural strategic acquirers for your business
  • One guaranteed technique for knowing whether an acquirer is serious about buying your business or just kicking tires
  • How to accelerate the pace of your deal to sell your company
  • About a “Greenshoe” option and how it can impact you as a founder
  • The biggest mistake Dhamija made after selling his company which cost him “a few million dollars”

After selling eBookers, Dhamija got involved in charities and eventually became a member of the European Parliament. Have you figured out what you will do after you exit your company? Get your PREScore™ now to find out five essential questions you must answer to re-invent your life after you sell.

About Our Guest

Dinesh Dhamija is proud to be one of the Liberal Democrat’s three London MEPs, elected in the May 2019 European elections. He’s a proven entrepreneur and one of his passions is helping develop other young entrepreneurs. After starting out selling travel tickets from a kiosk in Earls Court tube station in 1980, he developed his business into what eventually became eBookers, transforming the travel industry towards an online sales model.
He’s kept his hand in business and philanthropy with his venture, Copper Beech Group, which manages investments in sustainable projects such as education, ecotourism and property in Romania and India.


John Warrillow:                Dinesh Dhamija started eBookers.com in 1995, sold it in 2005, six short years later for $471 million. 2,000 employees from a standing start in just six years, an amazing, amazing story. Have a listen for how well he knew his strategic acquirers. One of the pieces of advice I would offer is that you should know who your strategic acquirers are from the beginning. Dinesh knew them, he’d met them at an industry event, and courted them, so when it was time to sell, it was a phone call away.

John Warrillow:                Number two, listen to what they were buying, the strategic reason they were buying Dinesh’s company. He talks a lot about what life was like after the sale of his company, and he answers the question, is there life after selling your company? He talks about the decision to sell, and it was one he made jointly with his wife, and some of the thinking behind that is also interesting. Here to tell you his amazing story is Dinesh Dhamija. Dinesh Dhamija, welcome to Built to Sell Radio.

Dinesh Dhamija:               Thank you very much, John. Thanks for having me.

John Warrillow:                Yeah. No, it’s a pleasure to have someone like yourself on the show. We’re here to talk about this company eBookers, and for those of our audience members who are outside of the UK, they made have not heard of eBookers before, so maybe you could describe what the company did.

Dinesh Dhamija:               Well eBookers.com was in the travel industry, and it was the first internet travel company that went … well, essentially the first travel company that went on the internet in Europe. We started off in the UK, but we were in 11 countries in Europe, with a market of 300 million people, so we had about …

John Warrillow:                Yeah, no, I was going to say if I was traveling from London and I wanted to take a vacation to Greece, I could go onto eBookers and book I’m assuming my EasyJet flights and my hotel. Is that basically the business model?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Yes you could, but we book the whole world from these countries. The UK, let’s say we wanted to go to Europe or Sydney, Australia, or, I don’t know, India, you could book from here. We would book them and we would book the hotels and everything else. It was an outgoing operation rather than an incoming one.

John Warrillow:                What do you mean by that?

Dinesh Dhamija:               By that I mean is that there are some travel agents who accept groups when they come into a country and then they look after their needs and bus them to hotels and look after them, but we were outgoing in that we … in fact, in my last year before I sold, we did 1.6 million passengers.

John Warrillow:                Fantastic, fantastic. Now you sold in 2005. I can’t recall the sort of timing of events, but there was a time when the airlines and the hotels were trying to get guests to book directly with them as opposed to going through the likes of an online travel agency. Where were they at at that time in 2005? Were they trying to promote guests to go direct or were they sort of happy to work with you guys?

Dinesh Dhamija:               John, you’re right. They were trying, but the first port of call for them were the bricks and mortar travel agents, and these travel agents got badly affected by that, because what they did was they cut the commissions to zero. Travel agents obviously kept booking the airline and hotel accommodations, but then the airline companies and the hotels gave them commissions on the amount they booked with them as a marketing commission, if you see what I mean. If I booked a million pounds with British Airways, I’d get 2%, but if I booked five million pounds, I’d get 6% retroactively.

John Warrillow:                So the more you book-

Dinesh Dhamija:               That’s what we started doing.

John Warrillow:                Got it.

Dinesh Dhamija:               Yes, but I mean the point was that the smaller companies all went bankrupt.

John Warrillow:                Because in this game, scale matters a lot.

Dinesh Dhamija:               Absolutely.

John Warrillow:                You started the business in 1999. Is that right?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Correct.

John Warrillow:                Tell me a little bit about that. This is early days of certainly online travel, even to some extent, early days of the internet. How did you come up with the idea? What was that like?

Dinesh Dhamija:               I was in the travel business before that, but in the bricks and mortar space. I was a member of an organization called YPO, it’s called the Young Presidents Organization, and they basically started off in the States. I was visiting the States, at one of their, you know, academy, universities, which are a week long, and I saw how the internet was changing the travel space there. A friend of mine, who was a member as well, showed me, took me to his office in San Francisco and showed me while he’s sleeping at night, he’s getting revenue coming in through the internet, and this is very intriguing at that time to me. Of course the UK and Europe were about three years of four years behind the U.S., and literally I was the first person to go on, find a software company in Germany, and connect up to Saber reservation system, Saber being one of the online booking systems, which in those days was run by American Airlines.

Dinesh Dhamija:               When we connected, and of course for the first three weeks, we got zero bookings every day. I used to get a message on my mobile phone at eight in the morning and at 12 at night, and every single time it beeped, I saw zero bookings, so I was not very impressed with the internet. Then one day we got two bookings at 8 in the morning, and I thought this must be the software guy who did this. He’s made a booking himself. I rang up my office and I said, “Have we got these two bookings and have we got the credit card and does the credit card work?” They said, “Yes, we made 40 pounds on those two bookings,” and I was just totally amazed and said, “Oh my God.” That’s when it started, and then of course we went to, I guess at one point, 70 million in five years, 1.6 million in five years.

John Warrillow:                Dinesh, how did you finance that growth?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Okay. As I said, I had a bricks and mortar company, so I was making profits in that, so I had some money, but I didn’t have enough to do the marketing for an internet company, so I went to some friends, and one of them said, “If you go public within six months, I’ll give you $5 million.” By the way, I had to fly to New York and meet one of my U.S. friends, because in England they wouldn’t value the company for anything because obviously we didn’t know about the internet. Then the next day, this friend had connections with J.P. Morgan, and I remember it was Mother’s Day, and the J.P. Morgan guys came with their ties and suits and met us and said, “We would love to take you public,” because in those days, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs had taken all the best internet companies and left J.P. Morgan behind, so they were very, very interested in taking us public. That was May, and in November we went public on the Nasdaq.

John Warrillow:                What kind of revenue did you have at that time?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Oh, gosh. Sales of $23 million, and that sale, that’s not, I don’t know how you take into that revenue, because we made about 10% on that, so $2.3 million.

John Warrillow:                Got it.

Dinesh Dhamija:               Those were the heady days of the internet, and you’d just have to say, you know, “Here’s my business plan.” Of course it would have to work, and we had all the connections and contracts with the airlines from my bricks and mortar side. Then I went to $100 million in the next year and $600 million in three years and a billion in five. Really fast growth.

John Warrillow:                How much of the business did you have to give up in that round of financing, going public?

Dinesh Dhamija:               We went public, I mean our sales were going to be $23 million and the valuation put was $306 million, and I had to give up 20% plus the Greenshoe 3%, so 23%.

John Warrillow:                You mentioned the green and I lost your audio.

Dinesh Dhamija:               It’s the Greenshoe, where you’re allowed to put up 15% of your own shares as promoters, so it was 23%. We raised $61 million and I think we got $54 million in hand. The rest was taken by the banks and lawyers and God knows what else. Don’t worry about that. Always give that money to all these people, because without them you wouldn’t be able to raise it.

John Warrillow:                Right. Who’s the we in this case? Did you have founding shareholders in the business, or is it you?

Dinesh Dhamija:               No, it was me and my wife.

John Warrillow:                I see, and was your wife involved at all, like in a …

Dinesh Dhamija:               Oh, totally. Yeah. She was working.

John Warrillow:                Excellent. You raise this money and it seems like you grow like a juggernaut at that point to your own $23 million, $600 million, a billion. Were you required to go for additional rounds of financing, or did that get you through the profitability?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Yes, we did. So $54 million in hand, and the company, from $300 million, went up to over $700 million within a few weeks, because in those heady days, and then there was the crash in 2000 in about April time. Come July, we needed to raise another $45 million, so I went to the banks and they were, “No, we’re not giving any more money to the internet because we’ve lost so much, blah, blah, blah.” I said, “Okay, I’ll put in $5 million,” you know, that money that I’d raised in the Greenshoe, whatever money I got, I think it was $7 million, “I’ll put in that. Will you put that difference in?” They said, “If you’re willing to put it in, we’ll put in the rest.” J.P. Morgan did a financing round and we got $45 million. Then we didn’t need to raise any more money.

John Warrillow:                Got it. Was that second round what they call a down round? I’m assuming it was given the valuation of all internet stocks had plummeted at that time.

Dinesh Dhamija:               It was a down round, but it was … I don’t remember what it was, but it wasn’t at 306. I think it was around that, but I’m not sure. I mean it was strange, because if you … Walmart owned supermarkets, they’re called Asda, and we did a deal with Asda in that all Asda customers could come and book their travel with us. We did a deal with AOL, we did a deal with Yahoo and so on. It said Yahoo Travel or AOL Travel, but it was our booking engine in the back, if you see what I mean.

John Warrillow:                I do.

Dinesh Dhamija:               This round was … we just said, which we had to, that we’ve just down a deal with Asda, owned by Walmart, which we had to say, and our share price doubled and we got four bookings next week. I mean it was amazing. Things were just … no one knew what was going on, which is a good thing and a bad thing. A good thing if your shares go up, a bad thing if they go down.

John Warrillow:                The business model itself, making essentially commissions off bookings, did that change at all, or was that the same model all the way through?

Dinesh Dhamija:               It was the same model, except that our margins went form 10% to 12.8%.

John Warrillow:                Principally through the increased size of revenue?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Well, no, through the deals we could do. Yes, increased size essentially.

John Warrillow:                Dinesh, what triggered you to think about selling this business? It sounds like it was growing like crazy.

Dinesh Dhamija:               My wife said that I think that we should leave. I think we’ve reached a billion dollars. I’m sure we’ll get a lot of money if we sell our shares. By that time I owned about 40% of the shares. She said, “I’m leaving. You appoint someone else as managing director.” I was the CEO and she was the managing director. She left, and within three or four months, I thought, “She’s right.” Of course we were working 14 hours days seven days a week, and I said, “Yeah, okay. Why don’t I sell?” I got bankers and started selling the business through them and going through all the motions. We were a public company, so we had to do things the way the stock exchanges wanted us to do them.

John Warrillow:                I’d love to dig in a little bit more on your wife’s decision. What was it that triggered her to say, “I’m out. You can run it if you want, but I’m leaving.”

Dinesh Dhamija:               Yeah. I think that she wasn’t enjoying it anymore, and so, you know, it was a pressure cooker environment because we had listings on both sides of the Atlantic, both London and New York, and we had to go on road tours every three months, I had to, plus the east and the west coast of the States and Europe and the UK. You know, it was running up and down all the time. You get used to it after a while, but in the end it does take a toll, and it must have taken a toll.

John Warrillow:                This is an incredibly short amount of time. This all happened from … you started the business in 1999 to when you sold it in 2005. Just to underscore for our listeners how incredibly fast this company grew.

Dinesh Dhamija:               You’re right.

John Warrillow:                At that point you hired M&A bankers, essentially investment bankers, to sell the company. Did you go back to the guys who helped you finance the two rounds?

Dinesh Dhamija:               No, I did a beauty parade, as they call it, and I got in four or five bankers. I knew the guys who would want to buy us, so I said, “Listen, I’ll do everything on the phone, the loudspeaker.” Once I chose, I chose Credit Suisse, who were the lowest in how much they would charge us as a margin, and then I rang the five or six people who would have wanted to buy us in front of them, and I spoke to their managing directors, as I knew all of them. I said, “Would you like to sign a confidential memorandum of understanding,” and they said, “Absolutely.” Then we had a virtual document room, so we would give each one different codes and they would go in, and we knew when they were in looking at documents, and there were two companies who spent a huge amount of money, one was Cendant and one was Priceline, you know, the bookings guys. The others came in. They just wanted to see what our deals were with the airlines so then they could go and negotiate those as well if they hadn’t got them. You know, you win some, you lose some. Then Cendant bought us.

John Warrillow:                So many questions I’ve got associated with that. You don’t get off that easy. So many questions. Okay, you hired Credit Suisse. What was it about their pitch that resonated? Why did you choose them and when?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Well, I didn’t need them, really. I only needed them for all the statutory legal work, et cetera., because I knew who was going to buy us because they’d already said to us they would be interested. Because I owned about 40% of the company, I had my own banker, because I couldn’t be seen to be making a decision for the other 60%, even though they were very small shareholders. Credit Suisse was there, but I had my own banker, and essentially my own banker, who was a friend of mine, he and I drove the deal. Then of course we put it to shareholders and the shareholders all agreed.

John Warrillow:                How did you come to know the managing directors, CEOs of the five or six companies that you knew would want to buy you?

Dinesh Dhamija:               We used to meet them at conferences where we were all speaking on the internet, about travel really. It was Expedia, it was Priceline, which was bookings, it was Cendant. Who else was there? Travelocity. Opodo, which was the alliance of Air France, Iberia and Lufthansa, owned by Amadeus, and so on. You know, there were five or six of these guys, and I knew the MDs because they would invite me to golf days and stuff like that.

John Warrillow:                What was the strategic value that they saw in your company?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Essentially they saw a billion dollars of sales coming to them, and they could negotiate with that what they could do with hotels, cars and the airlines.

John Warrillow:                Because this is a volume game, they could get their own commissions up even more because they were adding a billion dollars.

Dinesh Dhamija:               Absolutely.

John Warrillow:                They could go to British Airways and Hilton and get more in the way of commissions.

Dinesh Dhamija:               Correct.

John Warrillow:                Got it. They had indicated that they were interested in making a deal at some point. How did you-

Dinesh Dhamija:               Well, I mean …

John Warrillow:                Go ahead.

Dinesh Dhamija:               They were five or six of them, but only two were really interested. The others were not, although they would have made a bid.

John Warrillow:                I’d be curious to know, have you been able to get underneath in the time since why they were less interested? You mentioned they wanted to negotiate-

Dinesh Dhamija:               No, I didn’t. I didn’t at that time worry about that. I mean, let’s say if I was Expedia, I would look at all the deals and see, oh God, British Airways are giving him a better deal and I’m doing more than he is, and so on and so forth. Compare everything, and just by saying that I’m interested, get to see all my contracts.

John Warrillow:                You have people listening to this interview right now who are going to be super nervous about what you’re describing, because essentially your terms with those airlines and others were proprietary. They were kind of part of your secret sauce, and you were opening that.

Dinesh Dhamija:               You have to be open to a certain extent, because in the end you do have a brand, and eBookers.com was a big brand. It still is by the way. This is an aside, eBookers was bought by Cendant, it was then put under an umbrella called Travelport with other companies, sold to Blackstone, and that whole umbrella was sold for $4.7 billion, and then Blackstone took it out. Sorry, Blackstone took the whole umbrella public themselves, but then they took eBookers out and sold it to Expedia.

John Warrillow:                Do you know what the selling price was?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Four years ago, Expedia bought it, bought eBookers. They didn’t buy it when I sold it, but they bought it four years ago, say after 10 years of me selling it, and now eBookers is doing well over $2 billion. When I sold it it was doing a billion.

John Warrillow:                Do you know what Expedia bought it for?

Dinesh Dhamija:               I don’t, but the managing director of Expedia wanted to have lunch with me, so I did. He wouldn’t tell me.

John Warrillow:                It wasn’t made public. You know, you raise an interesting-

Dinesh Dhamija:               No, it was a private deal.

John Warrillow:                Got it. You raise a really interesting point, and for those who have never gone through this before, Dinesh described the data room where online, he and the investment bankers he had hired could see who was most interested, and it turned out it was Cendant who was showing the most interest, downloading the most documents, opening a large volume of documents, which was a good sort of indicator to you as the owner that they were the most interested bidder.

Dinesh Dhamija:               We knew who their lawyers were who were doing this, and they were [inaudible 00:25:45], who are not cheap, and they were spending a lot of time.

John Warrillow:                You started to see that they were quite serious. At what point did they make the first offer?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Oh, I don’t remember, but I know that they said … They were in a roll up strategy of buying other companies, so we saw what they had paid for Orbitz. They bought Orbitz in the States and they bought other companies, so they made an offer and we said, “Hang on. This is your press release. This is what you paid for this, these sales. How can you pay us less?”

John Warrillow:                What did they pay for Orbitz on a …

Dinesh Dhamija:               I don’t remember now, but it was, as a pro rata, it was lower. We were offered lower, so I said, “Listen, you can’t do that.” After they bought us, our press release didn’t have that information because they didn’t want anyone to know. Anyway, we negotiated, sometimes at two in the morning, because they were in California, the guys who were negotiating for them. It went through in the end, and we went to … our share price would even go above the sale price because they would think that we’re going to get more out of Cendant. In the end they sold. It was $471 million that we sold for. That was nearly half times our sales, not our revenue.

John Warrillow:                Wow.

Dinesh Dhamija:               Which was quite good, you know, but I had a 10 year non-compete, so they were really afraid, for some reason, of me.

John Warrillow:                I can’t imagine why.

Dinesh Dhamija:               No, no, no.

John Warrillow:                You got offers from Cendant and did you get an offer from anybody else, or was it just Cendant that actually formalized it?

Dinesh Dhamija:               There was Bookings, Priceline, they were looking at us for some time, didn’t make an offer.

John Warrillow:                Essentially you were negotiating with Cendant exclusively towards the end of the …

Dinesh Dhamija:               Yes, after a while we signed an exclusivity clause, and then we went forward.

John Warrillow:                Was that before or after you had agreed to the price?

Dinesh Dhamija:               No, it was before.

John Warrillow:                How did you get comfortable with agreeing to an exclusivity, because in some ways you’re giving up some of your negotiating leverage at that point?

Dinesh Dhamija:               It was a time-bound exclusivity. We could have gone back after that time.

John Warrillow:                You knew you had a marketable asset that wasn’t going anywhere, so you felt like you could give them it.

Dinesh Dhamija:               Yes, we were not doing badly or anything like that.

John Warrillow:                Got it. Got it. You gave them exclusivity and continued to negotiate the price.

Dinesh Dhamija:               I mean there was no point. If you try and sell when you’re not doing well, not that I was doing really well, but on the other hand I wasn’t doing badly. What we decided was my wife and I want to sell. There was nothing wrong, everything was fine. 2004 things were doing well, 2005 even. Everything was good. Once those macro things go away in the minds of buyers, then they say, “Okay, these guys want to sell. They’re a couple. They want to leave.” It had 2,000 people working for it, so we had 2,000 people in different countries.

John Warrillow:                Strange question, but what proportion of your, and maybe I’m getting too personal in even asking, but the reason I’m asking this question, by the way, is to try to get a sense from you if diversification was part of your strategy in selling. Was your share ownership in eBookers the vast majority of your net worth, all that risk?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Absolutely.

John Warrillow:                On the backs of those 2,000 employees every single day.

Dinesh Dhamija:               We were a small business that started in a tube station called Earl’s Court in London in a kiosk with me and my wife sitting in the kiosk, about 70 or 80 square feet of space and waiting for customers to come in. That’s how we started in 1980, and we slowly build it up to about 235 people in 1996, so in 16 years. Then I came across the internet, and you know, every dog has his day, so I got my 15 minutes, and we were, you know, zooming.

John Warrillow:                Amazing story. You mentioned that you have reinvented, to use maybe the wrong choice of words, yourself in a new direction, and you were going to answer the question is there life after selling.

Dinesh Dhamija:               I’ve had two lots of different incarnations. I did nine and a half years in charity work, so I went into different charities, both in the UK and in India, and I helped form some, give money to some, sit on the boards of some. Then I got bored with doing that. I still do it, but I just got bored. I wanted something new, so I went into politics about four and a half years ago. I joined a political party called the Liberal Democrats, and they’re a small party, not the left Labor or the right, the Conservatives, but somewhere in the center. I am the deputy treasurer of the party, and I’m also vice-chair the federal board, but those are just titles. I’ve just been elected a member of the European Parliament in May.

John Warrillow:                Congratulations.

Dinesh Dhamija:               I’m like a Congressperson, Congressman or woman. It sits in Brussels and Strasbourg, and they don’t have an upper house and a lower house, they have one house, so I’m a member, and it’s great fun.

John Warrillow:                What was it about politics that drew you in? A lot of people would say, “What? You’ve got all the money in the world. Why bother?”

Dinesh Dhamija:               Sure. It’s not the money that counts, it’s ticking things off the bucket list that count. I’ve got to do everything.

John Warrillow:                What else in on your bucket list?

Dinesh Dhamija:               I haven’t thought of anything else, but I think the next thing on my bucket list is to keep the UK in Europe, because I don’t like Brexit. I think that we should be together with Europe. It’s nothing to do with money. Climate change is very important now, terrorism is important. You know, all the things that we can do. In parliament, one can do quite a lot, especially because I don’t need any money, so nobody can really bribe me like these pressure groups or whatever it is. They might kill me, but that’s a separate issue. I don’t mind that. What’s important is that I’m having a good time.

John Warrillow:                Do you find that the pull of politics is something that a lot of entrepreneurs from your YPO days feel?

Dinesh Dhamija:               There are some people who go into politics from YPO. You know, these people, all of them are great businessmen or they’ve run large companies or they’ve grown companies or they inherit them, but they wouldn’t go into public life because, you know, they might think that it’s an invasion of their privacy. I’m sure that I’ve got skeletons in my cupboard, and I’m sure everyone has, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try and help in my own way. I might be doing the wrong thing, of course, but I’d love to do that. As it’s scheduled, we are supposed to leave the EU on the 31st of October, so it will be a very short term as a member of parliament, but you never know. We might stay.

John Warrillow:                I wouldn’t bet against you, my friend. Tell me about … I’ve got a question for you that has been sort of percolating for a few minutes here. What advice would you have for an entrepreneur who comes into real money for the first time in their lives, maybe it’s through the sale of their business or some other event that happens. It happened to you. What advice would you have for them?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Yeah. Well, the first thing that is going to happen is about 40 banks came to me, one after the other, not at the same time, and they said, they had all kinds of horror stories about money and how it should be, and you don’t have the time to look after it and all that, and you should move something into dollars and some into other currencies and so on and so forth. You know, all of it is genuinely given, but it’s all about timing in life, it’s not about taking. You can take advice by buying the dollar and the dollar goes down. Even though it was a good trade, you’ve got to wait 10 years or 15 years before you get your money back. You can buy the dollar and the dollar goes up and you’ve made money in six months. It’s timing that matters, and timing, no one can tell the future. As long as you want to hold something for some time, you’re okay. Bankers are going to be a pest. Number one.

Dinesh Dhamija:               I mean I remember going to a bank and saying, “All right, you guys have been pestering me. Buy me $2 million worth of gold.” The gold price was around $500 per ounce, I think. They said, “You must be kidding. Gold has just gone up from $350 to $500. You are going to be absolutely screwed in the next year.” So I walked out of that meeting with my tail between my legs, and you know, saying I better not do it. I tell you, since that meeting, gold has never gone south of $550 or $500. It went up to $1,900 and it’s now $1,400. You know, I could have made three or four million dollars. The point was they’re all human beings like us, so if they see something go up, it must come down, but they didn’t realize. Bankers are not that much more special than anyone else, it’s just that they’re in that profession and they’re there to give advice.

Dinesh Dhamija:               The other thing was that I bought 20 million pounds of dollars, and the dollar, or vice versa, and the dollar went down, so I lost money on that as well. It just so happened that that was the timing, so I can’t blame anyone, nor did I know. There we go. This is going to happen. Then there’s going to be your kids and your relatives are going to keep saying, “Come on. What about this charity, and what about me, and what about a car?” Your time is taken up with all that, so you’ve got to deal with it.

John Warrillow:                How did you handle it with your kids?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Yeah, I didn’t handle it really well, but I handled it. You know, I did give them some money, but I didn’t want to give them too much so that they wouldn’t work. I think they’re working. You know, you always have something that … they never work as well as you did or as hard as you did, but there we are.

John Warrillow:                Any advice for parents who are coming into a public amount of money that their kids are going to read about on the internet?

Dinesh Dhamija:               Yeah. I would suggest that they should earn their money, and we all know that and we all say that, and yet, then they go to the mother and then they go to the father, and then they try this way and that way. I think they’ve got to earn it. My kids are good kids, it’s not that they’re not.

John Warrillow:                They’ve somehow got to make their own way in life as well as you have.

Dinesh Dhamija:               Yeah. You’ve got to make your own way in life, and, you know, the point is how do you … it depends upon the society you live in as well.

John Warrillow:                That is true, for sure.

Dinesh Dhamija:               The easiest thing would be to just, so that they just say, “Okay, we’ve got money, we’ve got a house, and we’ll just stay in it for the rest of our lives.” That’s the last thing you want.

John Warrillow:                Right. Yeah. What’s that old saying? Give your kids roots and wings, as opposed to things. I can’t remember if I’m getting that right, but that was the essence of it. I am going to be watching the Brexit debate with an increased level of interest with you as spearheading the remain vote, so I look forward-

Dinesh Dhamija:               Well I’m not spearheading it, I’m just one of the spokes in the wheel.

John Warrillow:                A supporter.

Dinesh Dhamija:               I’m a supporter.

John Warrillow:                Yeah. Is there any way … people are going to listen to this. They’re going to want to reach out. I don’t know what the best way for people to do that … Do you want to send them to a website, do you want to tell them to …

Dinesh Dhamija:               I have a website, and I’m trying to … I’m on Facebook as well, I’m on Twitter as well. Facebook would be-

John Warrillow:                Yeah.

Dinesh Dhamija:               There’s all kinds of things going on. Let me go the website. Is it underscore or not?

John Warrillow:                You’ll let us know.

Dinesh Dhamija:               There was one other thing, there was one thing I did, you know, something that really would have … the word trophy was the question. What trophy would I buy?

John Warrillow:                Yeah, what trophy would you buy? Yeah.

Dinesh Dhamija:               You know, let me give you the website. It’s www.dineshdhamija, one word, dot com.

John Warrillow:                We’ll put that into the show notes so people who need the spelling will get it.

Dinesh Dhamija:               If they want to go to that. Yeah. I took out a NetJet contract, which I was using while I was chairman and CEO of eBookers, but then of course I didn’t use it, because at, you know, 50 hours. There was no need as someone not working, but I just took it out, and that was a waste of money, so there you go.

John Warrillow:                My question to all of my guests, that Dinesh is answering, is did you buy yourself a trophy, something to mark the-

Dinesh Dhamija:               Thank God I didn’t buy an airplane.

John Warrillow:                Yeah, I was going to say you got off light with a NetJet subscription.

Dinesh Dhamija:               Yes.

John Warrillow:                It was great to meet you. It was a pleasure to chat with you. Congratulations on the sale. Good luck with the Brexit push, and thank you for taking the time.

Dinesh Dhamija:               Thank you very much indeed, John, for having me.


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