The UK’s Eton Travel Group has been acquired by Chris Thelen, the CEO and founder of TakeTwo Travel Solutions.
The acquisition will “save jobs and talent whilst ensuring continuity of service to its clients”, said a statement from Thelen, which added the company was “under pressure due to the pandemic” and “facing an uncertain future”.
Berkshire-based Eton, which also has an office in Cork, Ireland, provides travel management services to SME clients in the pharmaceutical, IT, finance, retail, manufacturing, legal and consulting sectors, and also provides specialist services to VIPs and entertainment businesses, and has a MICE division.
It had a pre-pandemic turnover of more than £40 million and around 150 clients – ranging in size from £50,000 annual travel spend up to £5 million – and was ranked the UK’s 27th largest agency in Europe’s Leading TMCs 2021.
Eton will continue to operate as an independent business but managing director Ken Thompson will step down and retire. Former director Martin Boone is promoted to general manager of the group and will report to Thelen.
“I’m passionate about the business travel industry and the people and brands within it. Eton is an established brand with a solid reputation; it’s a great company with exceptional staff. I’ve been impressed with the senior team and have been working with them for some time to find a way to preserve the business and save as many jobs as possible,” said Thelen (pictured).
“It will be business as usual at Eton as the company continues to operate under its own brand with its own sales strategies, partners and customers. However, Eton clients will benefit from a significant uplift in service as I will be investing in technology, maximising the opportunities presented by Eton’s office in Ireland and we’ll have a renewed focus on all partnerships,” said Thelen.
The TakeTwo boss said he has no plans for further acquisitions in the UK.
Thompson added: “I’m incredibly proud of Eton Travel and the stellar reputation it’s gained with loyal customers over 53 years. Of course, we couldn’t have had such success without the team behind it all and I’d like to thank each of them for their commitment over the years but especially in the last 21 months which has been so challenging for us all.”