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 Companies
American Express Global Business Travel to merge with SPAC Apollo Strategic Growth Capital
American Express Global Business Travel acquired Egencia
American Express Global Business Travel acquired Ovation Travel Group
Corporate Travel Management to acquire Helloworld’s corporate business
Direct Travel acquired McCord Travel Management
Direct Travel acquired Short’s Travel Management’s corporate business
Flight Centre Travel Group acquired Shep
Frosch acquired a majority stake in Conlin Travel
Frosch acquired Valerie Wilson Travel
Hess Corporate Travel acquired Wycoff Travel
TravelPerk acquired Click Travel
TravelPerk acquired NexTravel
TravelPerk acquired Susterra
TripActions acquired Reed & Mackay
Blackstone Real Estate Partners and Starwood Capital acquired Extended Stay America
Cascade Investment acquired a controlling stake in Four Seasons
Hyatt acquired Apple Leisure Group
Pyramid Hotel Group merged with Benchmark Global Hospitality
Serviced Apartments Platform acquired Acomodeo
SilverDoor acquired The Apartment Service
Sonder merged with SPAC Gores Metropoulos II
Sonesta acquired Red Lion Hotels parent RLH Corp.
Wheels Up merged with SPAC Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle
Wheels Up acquired Mountain Aviation
Vista Global acquired Apollo Jets
Payment and Expense
Emburse acquired Roadmap and DVI
U.S. Bancorp to acquire TravelBank
Voxel Group acquired Troovo
ATPCO acquired SITA’s Airfare Insight fare management system
Capital One acquired Lola
Coupa acquired Pana
HotelPlanner.com merged with Reservations.com and SPAC Astrea Acquisition Corp.
HRS acquired Itelya
Mondee to merge with SPAC Ithax Acquisition Corp.
Tres Technologies acquired Trams
Bizzabo acquired X.ai and Whalebone
Bizzabo acquired Teevid
Bizzabo acquired Klik
Cvent merged with SPAC Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. II
Cvent acquired Shoflo
Etherio Group acquired Meeting Expectations
Intrado acquired Hubb
Meetingselect acquired MICE Access
Gett to Merge with SPAC Rosecliff Acquisition Corp.
FlixMobility Buys Greyhound
Hip Shuttle and SummitQwest Ground merged, forming HQ
BTN sibling publication BTN Europe covered several additional deals in 2021. Read about them below.
Travel Management Companies
ArrangeMY acquired Ellis Salsby
ATPI Group acquired Hamburg Süd Reiseagentur
Citibond Travel acquired Emerald TMC
Global Travel Management acquired some assets of Baxter Hoare
Global Travel Management acquired the client base of Flightline Travel Management
Good Travel Management acquired the client base of Company Travel
Ventur (then Traveleads) acquired Omega Business Travel (U.K.)
Who Bought Whom in 2020