Kansas City-headquartered MMGY Global, which positions itself as the world’s largest integrated marketing company specializing in travel and hospitality, announced that it has acquired the high-profile British travel and travel and tourism public relations firm of Hills Balfour. Terms were not disclosed.
MMGY, which is headed by Clayton Reid, was founded in 1981. It grew steadily over the years, with Reid continuing to take part in the travel and tourism community in Kansas City along the way. (He is an emeritus member of Visit KC’s board of directors.)
In 2011, MMG, as it was then known became a national powerhouse with global reach when it merged with the Y Partnership, the brand used by what used to be Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell (YPB&R), the Orlando-based firm that was led by Peter Yesawich, a well known tour and travel industry figure who is a much sought-after speaker and authority cited by the news media. YesawIch is listed as a partner in MMGY Global, which counts among its clients such familiar destinations as Cleveland, Bermuda, Visit KC, Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel and Destination DC.
In February 2016, Peninsula Capital Partners and Fine Equity Partners made an equity investment in MMGY, and a series of mergers and acquisitions have taken place since then, including MMGY Global’s acquisitions of DK Shifflet & Associates, Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations, Myriad Marketing and Spring O’Brien, as well as that of Hills Balfour.
Amanda Hills, Hills Balfour founder and chief executive, will remain with the business, overseeing the London and Dubai firms’ overall operations. She will assume the new role of president, HB and MMGY London and Dubai, partnering with the MMGY Global senior management team to increase the agency’s European presence.
Commenting on the acquisition, Reid said: “Expanding our presence beyond Madrid, Hills Balfour is the right step into Europe for us, and we see our foothold in the UK market as an excellent base to expand across the key European and Middle East tourism markets.
“Their (Hills Balfour’s) reputation in-market, along with an exceptional senior management team and a loyal and long-standing client base, made our merger of operations an easy one.”