< PrevNext > Greg O'Hara, American Express Global Business Travel board chair & Certares founder & managing partner Merger of Megas By Jay Boehmer / December 12, 2018 / Contact Reporter Share Two of the world's largest travel management companies became one this year when American Express Global Business Travel in July completed its 410 million-British pound takeover of HRG. Orchestrated by O'Hara and announced in February, the deal formed the mega of all mega TMCs, with a combined $36 billion in annual transaction value.For Amex GBT, the acquisition bulks up buying power with suppliers, provides a stronger presence in some markets, especially in Europe, and poses the opportunity and challenge of combining the best elements of each organization's people, culture and technology. For competitors, it represents a bigger rival to compete with and also a potential opportunity, should the tie-up yield client attrition, as some suspect. For clients, it provides a bigger footprint, and, said O'Hara, lower pricing. For employees, it means job cuts for some, new titles for others and lots of integration work.O'Hara and Co. got the deal done. Now, the management team and employees have to get the implementation done right, as two large, multinational TMCs integrate. "We came up with a merger integration plan that's both ahead on time and budget," O'Hara said in December at a BTN Group event. "One of the things that's nice for us is: Our sales continue to increase. We're able to use the scale we require to lower prices. I hope you guys are starting to see that reflected in the marketplace, and we think those prices will continue to come down. And that generally makes people happier in the travel-buying universe."While O'Hara makes the deal sound simple—"HRG was a public company. That means it's for sale every day"—the transaction required buy-in from HRG management, support from 50/50 joint-venture partner American Express (as part of the deal, Amex card competitor Visa acquired Hogg Robinson's Fraedom unit) and doing the "yeoman-like, trudging work" of acquiring a public company, including all the customary closing conditions that entails. Ever hungry for more, O'Hara, just months after closing the HRG deal, said: "If anyone at CWT or BCD is interested in selling those businesses, I am interested. But until they are, I'm unable to transact."