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The business travel industry's merger and acquisition activity in 2021, while arguably less intense than some pandemic-era predictions had foretold, nevertheless was frisky, particularly in the travel management company sector. American Express Global Business Travel's acquisitions of Egencia and Ovation Travel Group were some of the largest of the year, joining several other notable deals.
A few other trends illustrated the 2021 industry M&A story.
Rise of the SPAC. Several business travel industry companies, most notably Amex GBT and Cvent, announced their intentions to become publicly traded companies not through initial public offerings of stock but through mergers with special purpose acquisition companies. These SPACs are already public, having registered with regulatory bodies like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and shares of the SPAC are available to buy. Companies like Sonder, Gett, Wheels Up, HotelPlanner.com and Rocketrip parent Mondee also announced SPAC merger plans.
Tech companies call it a day. Continuing a trend that notably accelerated in 2020 amid the pandemic, several smaller venture capital-backed independent technology companies sold to larger firms, including Pana, Lola, Roadmap, Troovo and Shep.
TMCs beef up tech offerings. On a related note, several travel management companies turned to acquisitions to bolster their technology toolboxes, including Flight Centre's deal to acquire Shep and TravelPerk's deal to acquire NexTravel.
The following are all mergers and acquisitions covered by BTN and The Beat in 2021. Please note that reports in The Beat require a subscription to access.
Travel Management CompaniesAmerican Express Global Business Travel to merge with SPAC Apollo Strategic Growth CapitalAmerican Express Global Business Travel acquired EgenciaAmerican Express Global Business Travel acquired Ovation Travel GroupCorporate Travel Management to acquire Helloworld's corporate businessDirect Travel acquired McCord Travel ManagementDirect Travel acquired Short's Travel Management's corporate businessFlight Centre Travel Group acquired ShepFrosch acquired a majority stake in Conlin TravelFrosch acquired Valerie Wilson TravelHess Corporate Travel acquired Wycoff TravelTravelPerk acquired Click TravelTravelPerk acquired NexTravelTravelPerk acquired SusterraTripActions acquired Reed & MackayLodgingBlackstone Real Estate Partners and Starwood Capital acquired Extended Stay AmericaCascade Investment acquired a controlling stake in Four SeasonsHyatt acquired Apple Leisure GroupPyramid Hotel Group merged with Benchmark Global HospitalityServiced Apartments Platform acquired AcomodeoSilverDoor acquired The Apartment ServiceSonder merged with SPAC Gores Metropoulos IISonesta acquired Red Lion Hotels parent RLH Corp.AviationWheels Up merged with SPAC Aspirational Consumer LifestyleWheels Up acquired Mountain AviationVista Global acquired Apollo JetsPayment and ExpenseEmburse acquired Roadmap and DVIU.S. Bancorp to acquire TravelBankVoxel Group acquired TroovoTechnologyATPCO acquired SITA's Airfare Insight fare management systemCapital One acquired LolaCoupa acquired PanaHotelPlanner.com merged with Reservations.com and SPAC Astrea Acquisition Corp.HRS acquired ItelyaMondee to merge with SPAC Ithax Acquisition Corp.Tres Technologies acquired TramsMeetingsBizzabo acquired X.ai and WhaleboneBizzabo acquired TeevidBizzabo acquired KlikCvent merged with SPAC Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. IICvent acquired ShofloEtherio Group acquired Meeting ExpectationsIntrado acquired HubbMeetingselect acquired MICE AccessGround TransportationGett to Merge with SPAC Rosecliff Acquisition Corp.FlixMobility Buys GreyhoundHip Shuttle and SummitQwest Ground merged, forming HQ
BTN sibling publication BTN Europe covered several additional deals in 2021. Read about them below.
Travel Management CompaniesArrangeMY acquired Ellis SalsbyATPI Group acquired Hamburg Süd ReiseagenturCitibond Travel acquired Emerald TMCGlobal Travel Management acquired some assets of Baxter HoareGlobal Travel Management acquired the client base of Flightline Travel ManagementGood Travel Management acquired the client base of Company TravelVentur (then Traveleads) acquired Omega Business Travel (U.K.)Ground TransportationAddison Lee acquired ComCabTravelhire Group acquired Brunel
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