Private equity firm EagleTree Capital has taken a minority stake in New York City- and Houston-based travel management company Frosch, the companies are set to announce today. EagleTree, a New York-based, middle-market private equity firm, manages approximately $3 billion of capital. [Disclosure: EagleTree owns Northstar Travel Media, parent company of The BTN Group and Business Travel News.] The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Frosch ranked No. 14 on Travel Weekly US's 2020 Power List based on self-reported total revenue of $2.4 billion in 2019, with two-thirds of that tagged as corporate travel.
Mergers and acquisitions have been a key growth strategy for Frosch since its founding in 1972 and has continued during the Covid-19 pandemic. The company last year acquired CorpTrav and Luxe Travel and took a majority stake in Plaza Travel. Frosch acquired TCG Consulting in 2019, bringing advisory insights to match its travel operations expertise.
Frosch president and CEO Bryan Leibman told BTN that acquisitions remained a focus for the agency and the EagleTree capital puts the company in prime position to act on the right opportunities.
"We believe in corporate travel," said Leibman, but acknowledging the market had been decimated by the pandemic. The right buyers with good balance sheets, however, should be looking to take advantage, he added. "There will be more consolidation, and we want to partner with the best independent remaining companies. We have an outstanding team to integrate with them and bring them onto our platform."
Leibman highlighted Frosch's global platform and the company's comprehensive integrations when bringing on acquired properties. "We have infrastructure where we are ticketing in over 60 countries but all with a single team," he said. "We have full control over all the operations on single GDS contract," with key exceptions like China. Acquired properties like Luxe and CorpTrav become a part of that platform, boosting capabilities and streamlining deliverables to their clients. "You are seeing Frosch interactions, Frosch invoices, everything consistent but meeting all local requirements for taxes, etc.," he said.
The EagleTree investment, said Leibman, will allow the company to strengthen that platform and enable more technology for the corporate segment. With the acquisition of Luxe Travel, for example, the company signaled a commitment to omnichannel solutions in the corporate space and Leibman confirmed that he "absolutely agrees" with omnichannel strategies and claimed Frosch "content agnostic," currently bringing in more than 50 content streams.
Frosch was an early innovator around New Distribution Capability content, and Leibman said the company has been "very creative and competent" with direct bookings as well. He predicted the additional cash would enable the company to accelerate solutions as corporate travel recovers and new requirements emerge.
EagleTree, undoubtedly, will be looking for Frosch to deliver on that potential.
"Frosch is one of the few truly global operators in the market, which we believe is a strong differentiator to capture the exciting growth ahead," EagleTree co-managing partner Anup Bagaria said in a press statement. Senior partner Michael Struble added, "Bryan's view of the future of travel aligns well with ours, and as a leading company in the sector, Frosch is an ideal partner for us."