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Frosch International Travel has acquired Valerie Wilson
Travel in the latest major step in Frosch's strategic growth strategy, which
over the past year has included several other TMC purchases as well as an
infusion of private equity capital. Financial terms of the acquisition, which
closed on April 30, were not disclosed.
Under the sale agreement, VWT will operate as an independent
brand under the Frosch corporate umbrella, with continued leadership from the
company's namesake founder Valerie Wilson. Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg and
Kimberly Wilson Wetty will remain co-presidents of VWT, while both also will join
Frosch's executive team, the companies said.
Commenting on the motivation behind acquiring VWT, Frosch
president and CEO Bryan Leibman noted a longtime mutual respect between the two
family-run TMCs and cited several key aspects of VWT's business as
complementary to Frosch's own offerings, including geographic market presence, client
roster and capabilities around high-touch/VIP servicing.
We have found that building out and diversifying and adding more scale has really provided … more value to all our customers."
"[The acquisition] gives us a greater presence in New
York [City] and the tri-state area, and that's very important for us,"
said Leibman. "We believe in the firms that do business in and are located
in that area … and understand their
needs and demand for a high-level of service, technology and infrastructure,"
Leibman noted—citing professional services, media and retail as sectors both
Frosch and VWT have a long history of servicing.
Under the acquisition, VWT clients now will benefit from
additional services offered under the Frosch corporate umbrella, Leibman said.
Those include Frosch's single global platform and technology infrastructure and
end-to-end service model, which also includes TCG Consulting, which became
part of Frosch in 2019. Clients also will be able to leverage Frosch's buying
power with suppliers, he added.
For Frosch, the VWT deal continues a longtime growth
strategy built around not just expanding its client list and market share, but also
enhancing its overall service offerings in a "smart growth" approach,
according to Leibman.
"We have found that building out and diversifying and
adding more scale has really provided … more value to all our customers,"
Leibman said, noting that the company has completed more than 50 acquisitions over
the past 22 years.
That acquisition-centric strategy has been in high gear
recently, with Frosch in 2020 purchasing CorpTrav
Travel, as well as taking a majority stake in Plaza
Travel. And in early 2021, the company got a capital
infusion from private equity firm EagleTree Capital with an eye on further acquisition
opportunities. [Disclosure: EagleTree owns Northstar Travel
Media, parent company of The BTN Group and Business Travel News.]
In Frosch's view, doubling down on growth amid the Covid-19
pandemic and attendant shutdown of corporate travel helps the TMC gain market
share at a particularly opportune time while many providers in the space are
struggling; the company projects that up to 30 percent of agencies will cease
operations or be permanently hindered due to the pandemic.
And beyond M&A, with corporate travel's recovery
beginning to pick up momentum, Frosch also has been expanding its offerings to
support the post-pandemic demands of its clients. Earlier this year, the
company rolled out its new GuideMe mobile travel safety protocol and
notification service. And last month, Frosch signed
on to resell Serko's Zeno online booking and expense management tool.
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