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|Headquarters||Kensington, City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom|
|Subsidiaries||EasyGroup IP Licensing Ltd|
EasyGroup (styled as easyGroup, incorporated as EasyGroup Holdings Ltd), founded in 1998, is the holding company controlling the "easy" family of brands. It is privately owned by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Through its wholly owned subsidiary EasyGroup IP Licensing Ltd, the company licences the Easy brand to other businesses. From 2012 to 2017, Easygroup also licensed the Fastjet brand to the low-cost African airline.
The company was established to expand the "easy" brand following the successful launch of EasyJet in 1995. The first use of "easy" after EasyJet was to EasyInternetcafé established in June 1999. This was followed in 2000 with the establishment of EasyRentacar, later renamed EasyCar.
EasyGroup brand values
EasyGroup publishes brand guidelines for all Easy companies to follow, together with the company's brand values:
- Great value
- Taking on the big boys
- For the many not the few
- Relentless innovation
- Keep it simple,
- Making a difference in people's lives
- Honest, open, caring and fun
Easy family of brands
EasyJet is a low-cost airline which began flying on 10 November 1995. It is one of the two largest budget airlines in Europe, alongside its rival Ryanair. It was the first company owned by EasyGroup to use the "easy" prefix. EasyJet Airline Company Limited is a separate company which licenses the "easyJet" name from easyGroup.
Fastjet is a low-cost airline group established in 2012 that operates in Africa, originally following a similar business model to EasyJet. It was the first non-Easy brand-name licensed by EasyGroup. Fastjet plc acquired ownership of their brand in late 2017.
In April 2000 the company set-up the car rental company easyRentaCar (later renamed easyCar), with the only rental car available being the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. The new easyCar company now[when?] operates as an international car rental broker via the Internet.
easyCar Club was launched by easyCar in February 2014 as a peer-to-peer rental scheme that allows members to rent under-used private cars from one another. On 1 December 2018, EasyCar Club stopped accepting bookings citing a problem reaching an agreement with an insurer. On 18 December 2018, EasyCar Club informed members that it was ceasing operations to join forces with Turo, and offering incentives for EasyCar Club members to join Turo.
EasyBus began operating on 30 July 2004. The company currently offers a low-cost express minibus service between Central London and three London airports: Gatwick, Stansted and Luton. Also between Manchester and Liverpool Airports to Chester, Wrexham, Oswestry and Shrewsbury (Until 9 September) Journeys can be booked via the EasyBus website, or customers can purchase, usually at higher prices, from the EasyBus airport sales desks, or by paying the driver if joining in London. Online bookings offer guaranteed seats on specific services.
A delivery-only pizza company launched in 2004. EasyPizza ceased to operate their independent franchised stores in December 2009, and teamed up with Just Eat, who operate as a third party to local pizza takeaway and delivery companies.
EasyHotel is a "no frills super budget" hotel operator which started with one hotel in 2005, and now has 20 hotels in various locations in London (Victoria, Old St, South Kensington, Paddington and Heathrow) as well as Luton, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Basel, Zurich, Budapest, Sofia, Porto, Berlin, Larnaca, Dubai, Edinburgh, Budapest, The Hague and Glasgow. Rooms contain either a double bed or twin single beds, are en-suite and one wall panel is orange in colour with corporate logos on the wall and doors. Toiletries (except soap/shampoo) are not supplied and the use of the TV and the housekeeping facility is additional. Reservations must be made online, with the less expensive stays given the further in advance of booking.
EasyProperty was launched by EasyGroup in 2014, and offers low cost letting agency services to landlords across England and Wales. Property owners can list their properties for free on easyProperty, and access the major property portals, Rightmove, Zoopla, Primelocation etc. for a small charge. Other services offered include photography, floorplans, EPCs, Property Management, Tenancy Agreements and Deposit Protection.
EasyGroup announced the launch of a chain of no frill gyms called EasyGym in May 2011, with the first two branches in Slough and Wood Green.
First announced in 2013, opened in London in February 2016, located next to easyBus House (the headquarters of easyBus Ltd). The supermarket charged just 25p for essential food items. Just days after opening its doors it was forced to shut temporarily after running out of stock. The store now sells items at 50p each, with 25p returning during promotional periods only.
- Easy.com – A free e-mail service began in November 2000. This site also acts as the easyGroup main portal.
- EasyVan – Like EasyCar, EasyVan.com operates with outside suppliers to provide van rental across the UK. EasyVan provide van hire from more than 120 locations throughout the United Kingdom.
- EasyCoffee - Cheap coffee shop branch based in Burnley, London, Blackburn, Hastings and Edinburgh.
Launched in 1999 as easyEverything, the EasyInternetcafé chain was launched in 1998 to offer access to the internet on the high street. The flagship branch in London's Oxford Street was closed in 2004, and the chain closed in 2009. The business lost GB£96 million in its first five years of operation.
On 21 August 2001 the credit card company EasyMoney was set up with Accucard (now part of Lloyds Bank), which was expanded on 14 February 2005 with the announcement that unbundled car insurance products provided by Zurich would be sold later in the year at EasyMoney insurance. In April 2006, EasyGroup linked with Moneysupermarket.com to provide a financial product comparison website. This coincided with the withdrawal of the EasyMoney credit card.
In February 2018, easyMoney relaunched under new ownership as a peer-to-peer lending company providing savers with an option to earn higher interest than the high street banks by lending their money to property professionals. This followed the UK government's move in April 2016 to allow peer-to-peer lending products to be held in a new tax-free Individual Savings Account (ISA) wrapper called an "Innovative Finance ISA".
On 23 May 2003 the cinema company, EasyCinema at The Point, Milton Keynes was opened at a former UCI site, offering screenings from 20p if booked well in advance. The cinema initially struggled as major distributors were not prepared to release new films to the company using the yield-management model. First run films later became available, but at fixed prices. The cinema also relented on not serving popcorn and drinks, which previously went unsold to save on staffing costs.
Towards the end of its life, the cinema site also housed an EasyInternetcafé and was a pick-up point for EasyPizza. However, following a dispute over unpaid rent with the landlord, Odeon, which resulted in eviction, the EasyCinema closed in May 2006 and reopened as an Odeon cinema. The closure of the Milton Keynes EasyCinema appears to have curtailed the desired expansion into London's West End.
In March 2005 saw the commencement of EasyCinema Online DVD Rental (stylised as easyCinema), first announced in November 2004. This is a partnership with LOVEFiLM, the company operating rental services for several other retail brands. However, unlike many online DVD rental services, there is no monthly subscription but the user purchases rental credits. On 1 August 2012 the easyCinema website and branding ceased and became wholly branded as LOVEFiLM.
On 9 December 2004 the men's toiletries range Easy4Men was launched together with Boots. Originally conceived to challenge Gillette, the product line did not include a razor. After disappointing sales, the partnership with Boots was dissolved in 2006. As of 2011, it is no longer in operation.
EasyMusic began operation on 22 December 2004 in conjunction with Wippit. It sold copyrighted music downloads offered from 25p, although the minimum transaction value is £1 and there are charges for using credit cards and SMS payment methods. The service stopped selling downloads in January 2008, but began to sells CDs in conjunction with CDwow.
EasyEnergy was founded in 2016 by Dutch entrepreneurs Maarten Roelfs and Raymond van Eck and market launched on 28 March 2017. EasyEnergy was acquired by the current owner NieuweStroom on 29 June 2018. EasyEnergy will provide domestic customers access to wholesale energy prices, for a fixed monthly fee. EasyEnergy is only active in the Netherlands.
A no frills cruise ship called EasyCruise was launched on Friday 6 May 2005, targeting the 18-40 age-group, rather than the traditional retired market. The first vessel was known as EasyCruiseOne. Expansion of the EasyCruise fleet was announced in 2006. A franchise operation using a converted river freighter EasyCruiseTwo operated from 2006 until 17 August 2007. EasyCruise was sold to Hellenic Seaways in August 2009 for £9 million.
EasyMobile was a mobile virtual network operator, launched in March 2005 (not to be confused with EasyMobile, which was founded in 2003 by Karl Kahn) as a pay as you go service in partnership with TDC. The service closed on 13 December 2006. Rival mobile service, Orange, attempted to sue EasyGroup as it claimed the use of the orange EasyMobile logo breached its trademark and could confuse customers. The EasyMobile service was also launched in the Netherlands, but this service closed at short notice at the end of July 2006.
EasyCoach is a local bus company started in January 2017 by Andrew Martin and was based in Shrewsbury. The company ran the 436 in Shrewsbury but was re-tendered due to 'high number of passenger complaints relating to the performance of this service'  On 27 June 2018, EasyCoach started routes 2 (Wrexham - Oswestry) and 2D (Wrexham - Cefn Mawr) against Arriva Midlands as well as routes 42 (Wrexham Bus Station - Wrexham Industrial Estate) and 44 (Wrexham Bus Station - Snowdon Drive Circular). These services were hit with many delays and breakdowns. The Wrexham services will be withdrawn from 9 September with Mr Martin blaming 'certain individuals had been out to sabotage the business'.
Established in 2018, EasyDogwalker provide dog walking and pet sitting services, backed by the EasyGroup.
In the past EasyGroup has threatened legal action against several businesses using "easy" as part of their name. In 2002, Easyart.com (now King and McGaw) faced legal allegations from EasyGroup over its use of the easy name, accusing Easyart of "passing off" on easyGroup's good name. Easyart.com, which launched in September 1999, strenuously denied the charge and vowed to challenge Mr Haji-Ioannou in the high court. Easyart.com won the court battle when EasyGroup discontinued its legal action, saying it had "bigger targets to go after". Simon Matthews, the chief executive of Easyart.com, said in a statement "Stelios has surrendered and we have won. The law states a claimant who discontinues his claim is conceding he has lost or cannot win the case." Before commencing legal action EasyGroup's lawyers bombarded Easyart.com with threatening letters, despite having accepted £2,000 worth of advertising from the art company in its EasyInternet cafes not long after it launched. "This was a David and Goliath fight. It is a good day for smaller companies who stand up to bullying tactics from large corporations. We hope this gives hope to many other companies out there who are trading legitimately under the 'Easy' name and who have been threatened by this man," said Mr Matthews.
In 2005, EasyGroup threatened legal action against a Welsh company which had been trading as EasyMobile since 2003, two years before the launch of EasyGroup's EasyMobile business. EasyGroup dropped action against London businessman Karl Kahn after it emerged that his EasyPizza business predated EasyGroup's business of the same name by several years. In 2008, a restaurant in Northampton agreed to stop calling itself "easyCurry" after threats of legal action from EasyGroup.
In 2011, the Edmonton-based company Eezy Drive received a letter from EasyGroup's lawyer Clarke Willmott, asking the owner Zeeshan Haniffa to stop using the name of his driving school, Ezee Drive Driving School, accusing him of “intellectual property infringement” and giving him seven days to destroy £1,000-worth of signs, leaflets and posters using the name, and hand over website domain names within two weeks. Zeeshan Haniffa said in a statement: “When I received this letter, it seemed more like a threat to scare me off. They are accusing me of passing off on their name and misleading the marketplace. But there is no confusion, no misleading and no passing off. I think they are trying to bully me into doing what they want.” EasyGroup said it is “unfair” to brand its actions as bullying, adding: “We expressly encourage the recipient to seek legal advice”. It added in a statement: “We protect the ‘easy’ brand in order to protect consumers. In this way, we ensure that they are not misled into thinking they are dealing with an easyGroup company - on coming across a brand, the logo is not always visible, as is the case with radio advertising or Google ads which contain no specific font.”
In 2012, a Northwich-based gym called Easy Exercise was challenged that it could not use the Easy name, with EasyGroup citing "The easy name is synonymous with quality, value for money services and we have a duty to protect the public from its unauthorised use."
Pete Landon, managing director of Easy Exercise, which helps older women keep their mobility, said he was given an 80 per cent chance of success by his lawyers when threatened with the High Court action but the potential costs of losing, followed by a £100,000 bill in costs, would have been too much to handle: “It is a risk we would like to take but one we simply cannot afford. We have spent thousands on arguing our case and cannot accept the easyGroup proposition that the public actually believe that any goods or services marketed under the word ‘easy’ are done so with Stelios’ consent. The easyGroup makes millions of profit and yet still threatens small businesses like our own in this way and while we would really like to fight on, we know that should we lose, we would not only pick up our own legal bill but also that of the easyGroup. We already face thousands in legal costs, the loss of our domain name and £50,000 for rebranding as Friendly Gym. We are not the first small company to become a casualty of easyGroup and I am sure we will not be the last. The Intellectual Property Office should never have granted the exclusive use of ‘easy’ to Stelios who now has the monopoly on a word in daily use ” 
In July 2010, Sir Stelios criticised the previous chief executive of easyJet's (Andy Harrison) handling of airline punctuality. In a statement he said: "I have been receiving many unsolicited complaints from members of the public and even easyJet pilots about the degree that the airline is short of crew to operate the flights it sold to its customers. Unless Mike Rake [the chairman] and Carolyn McCall [the new chief executive] do something to improve the situation for the sake of the travelling public, I am left with no option but to terminate the brand licence." Other differences have emerged concerning travel-associated "extras" such as hotel bookings under the "easyJethotels" brand, and car hire under "easyJetcarhire". EasyGroup contended that it licensed the "easyJet" brand primarily for airline use, and that using the brand for hotel and car hire interfered with other easyGroup businesses.
In September 2018, EasyGroup was taking legal action against Netflix over its comedy series Easy, claiming its use of the name breaches his company's European trademarks. Netflix said in a statement that “viewers can tell the difference between a show they watch and a plane they fly in”.
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