Thursday 9th September, JW Marriott Grosvenor House
ExCeL London - 30 Sep - 01 Oct 2021
18 October 2021 - Virtual
TravelPerk, Europe's seventh largest TMC, is to acquire
the UK’s 12th largest travel management company, Birmingham-based Click
The deal, the terms of
which have not been disclosed, has been underwritten by The Baupost Group, a Boston-based investment
manager with roughly US$31bn in assets under management.
According to TravelPerk,
Click Travel handles more than £300 million in business travel spend for 2,000+ clients including burger chain Five Guys, energy drink maker Red Bull and mobile phone company TalkTalk. In
the year to 31 March, the TMC reported turnover of £262.6 million.
Click was founded in
1999 by brothers Simon and James McLean. Simon died at the age of just 41 in
The TMC is known
for developing its own technology in-house and for offering ‘whole of market’
content. It has been a pioneer of NDC content in the UK.
Last year, the company
picked up the 2020 Business Travel Awards for best TMC with more than £200m sales and for best self-booking
tool. Its former CEO, Jill Palmer, announced she was leaving the company in February.
Commenting on the deal, Avi Meir, CEO and co-founder of TravelPerk, said: “Since March last year, our strategy has been to
invest massively in our product offering and in our global reach, so that we
were well-positioned for the recovery when it came. Today’s news is a major
part of that plan.
“There is no doubt that the business travel market is on track
for a full recovery after the disruption of the last year. The meetings that
matter will always happen in person and we are already seeing plenty of green
shoots in our key markets.”
James McLean, CEO of Click Travel, said there was a “natural
cultural fit” between the two companies.
All 150 Click Travel staff, based in Birmingham, will join
the TravelPerk team as part of the acquisition, making Birmingham a
major new hub for the company.
The company’s chief commercial officer JC Taunay-Bucalo told BTN Europe
that a decision on whether to keep the Click brand is yet to be determined.
“What we do know
for sure is that we definitely want to keep all the people from Click and we definitely
want to use the team to go even faster and harder," he said.
technology of the two companies will be a key challenge.
“Our ambition is to
merge the two platforms,” said Taunay-Bucalo. “The tech stack from Click is
extraordinarily good and we will integrate it directly or use the knowledge to
rebuild it within TravelPerk.”
In May, TravelPerk
announced a Series D funding round that raised US$160 million, bringing its
total funding to US$294 million.
The company has been
on an acquisition streak, buying risk management start-up Albatross in July
2020 and US business travel platform NexTravel in January this year. The Click
deal is the third and largest of these acquisitions, the company said.
The news is the latest
in a hectic round of acquisitions in the online travel management space. In early
American Express GBT announced the acquisition of Egencia while TripActions
announced that it was acquiring Reed & Mackay. The flurry of M&A activity continues the consolidation that has been happening in the sector in recent years.
Asked about the rationale for the deal, Taunay-Bucalo said: “What the Click team realised is that the market is in a state of consolidation and there is going to be a huge incentive to being a big player on the market.”
He said the company still had “plenty of cash” for further acquisitions but says that the Click deal will keep them busy for the summer.
He would not be drawn on exactly where those acquisitions might be but said the focus would be on markets where TravelPerk is already active - “the UK, Germany, France, Spain, the US and the Netherlands to a certain extent.”