In the most significant tour and travel industry development since late last April, when Hotelbeds was acquired, the Hotelbeds Group has announced an agreement to legally structure the merger of the Tourico Group’s main parent company—Travel Holdings Parent Corporation—and Hotelbeds U.S. Holdco, Inc., a legal entity of Hotelbeds Group Holding in the United States. The merged entity will be 100 percent owned by Hotelbeds Group. The move follows by a little more than eight months the purchase of Hotelbeds from TUI, Europe’s largest company, by the UK-based private equity firm Cinven and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. The move left the then-current leadership of Hotelbeds in place.
The action will consolidate bedbank activity primarily among two global companies—Hotelbeds and GTA. Last October, the Inbound Report reviewed the websites of the two companies, along with that of Tourico and found that Hotelbeds claimed 100,000-plus hotel partners, GTA 62,000 and Tourico 56,600.
In an effort to learn more about what the acquisition will mean, the Inbound Report put a trio of questions to Pete Bahrenburg, a Tourico. spokesperson.
Inbound Report: Is this considered a merger?
Tourico: The deal will be legally structured via the merger of the top holding company of Tourico Group (´Travel Holdings Parent Corporation´) and Hotelbeds US Holdco, Inc., Hotelbeds Group Holding´s legal entity in the United States. The merged entity will be 100 percent owned by Hotelbeds Group.
Inbound Report: What is happening to Uri Argov and his role?
Tourico: Until regulatory approval is gained. Tourico Holidays will remain an independent company and as such will retain its existing management structure. When the deal completes the standard statutory approval process, then Tourico Holidays will become an additional business unit within Hotelbeds Group while the integration with Hotelbeds Group’s Bedbank unit is planned.
Inbound Report: Are they going to keep the brands separate?
Tourico: Today (Feb. 7th) we are simply announcing this news, therefore we are not yet in a position to plan the details of the merger of Tourico Holidays with the bedbank business unit of Hotelbeds Group. It would be premature for us to make detailed comments. However, we can say that when this deal completes the regulatory process, at that point Tourico Holidays will continue to operate as an independent business within Hotelbeds Group. In both the run up to the completion and for a period of time thereafter, both companies will independently continue to serve clients and suppliers as they do today. At the deal completion stage we will then work together to plan, for the longer term, the most appropriate way to manage the businesses going forward