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It seemed likely that Navigant International, after its split with its partner TQ3 Travel Solutions, would catch the eye of a predator. It had the look about it of a wounded animal.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), past masters at lightening strikes and looking to bolster its position after the industry's earlier upheavals, was not likely to miss such an opportunity to pounce.
At the same time as CWT bought Navigant for $510m, the Carlson Companies announced that it and JP Morgan affiliate, One Equity Partners (OEP) had bought Accor Hotels' 50% stake in the Paris-based travel management company for $465m.
It gave Carlson a controlling 55% stake in CWT and money provided by OEP helped buy Navigant.
It will obviously be expecting a return so Hubert Joly, president and ceo of CWT, is quite right to see OEP's involvement as "a great endorsement of the future of business travel management."
It also seems clearer after the major consolidations of the last four months, who the main players will be in this future.
The emerging big four are American Express, CWT, HRG and BCD Travel. A fifth, hovering on the perimeter, is FCm Travel Solutions.
Mr Joly said the acquisition of Navigant doubled CWT's size in North America and also expanded its presence in Asia Pacific where Navigant had operations in Australia and New Zealand – neither of which can be described as major markets in global terms.
North America and Europe remain the major markets although the markets in China, Japan and India are rapidly expanding and have the potential to overtake Europe. South America is also rapidly developing.
Of the big four, American Express is the biggest player in America, ahead of CWT (despite its doubled size) which Mr Joly said is a "strong number two."
BCD Travel, which previously operated in the States as WorldTravel BTI comes further down the list while HRG is the smallest player of the four despite recent acquisitions.America remains a fragmented market with Amex estimated to have only a 9% market share.
Outside North America, Mr Joly estimated that CWT is the number one TMC. Amex may dispute this as it is the biggest player in the UK, one of the world's leading markets, with an annual turnover well in excess of £1000m.
HRG remains a comfortable second in this market. Even with CWT's acquisition of Navigant, it still remains some way behind HRG.
But CWT is much stronger on the continent, especially in France than Amex, HRG or BCD.
In the emerging business travel markets of Asia and the Far East, American Express is again the biggest overall player although CWT and HRG have significant presence there.
This is a market of phenomenal potential. Again, like America, it is extremely fragmented and, in China at least, restricted by government regulations.
Altogether, the ASPAC business travel market is estimated to be worth about US$250bn. Of this market, the HRG share is around US$1bn or about 0.4%, the same as CWT but about half that of American Express.
As corporates are only just beginning to see the benefits of managed travel and are used to using their local agencies, the potential for consolidation is also equally huge as it is for growth.
This may well be the area which sees the next bout of consolidation or perhaps piecemeal acquisitions by the Big Four.
But equally there may also be "unfinished business" in Europe where rumours persist of yet further consolidation or rather acquisitions by one of the Big Four. Certainly HRG acknowledges there are gaps in its empire in Belgium and the Netherlands, BCD lags significantly behind Amex, HRG and CWT in the UK and CWT seems perpetually willing to snap up agencies.
It could be a busy few months.