Travel M&A activity heats up in post-pandemic era

Travel M&A activity heats up in post-pandemic era

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Merger and acquisition activity in travel has been picking up post pandemic with more than 400 deals transacted between 2022 and the third quarter of 2023, according to a new report.

The M&A tracker put together by investment bank Cambon Partners and travel research company Videc reveals 423 deals in the period compared with 389 between 2018 and Q3 2019. 

The report tracked 1,758 companies sold between 2014 and Q3 2023, with the majority of the deals taking place in Europe, 42%, and the United States, 38%. Of the 1,748 deals, valuations were available for 382, totaling $212 billion. 

Morgann Lesné, travel lead and partner at Cambon Partners, said, “The insights from the database suggest Europe to be the most active region for M&A in travel, with 212 deals [2022–3Q23] as compared to 154 deals pre-pandemic [2018–3Q19]. Among categories, hospitality is the most trending category with 149 deals compared with 125 deals in the pre-pandemic period. Technology has taken the center stage with deals for software and SAAS providers growing to 107 deals against 65.”

Notable deals reported by PhocusWire in recent months include the acquisition announced in July of buy now, pay later firm Uplift by payment products company Upgrade for $100 million. Meanwhile, Capital One announced its acquisition of digital concierge company Velocity Black in June.

And, as noted by Lesné, there has also been significant activity in the hospitality space with Hyatt acquiring boutique hotel platform Mr & Mrs Smith earlier this year, while rentals company HomeExchange has also made several acquisitions.

Virendra Jain, co-founder and CEO of Videc, said, “While it was all about top-line and exponential growth, significant sanity has prevailed post pandemic with an impetus on profitability and sustainability. The B2B category is a natural beneficiary of this trend with 151 deals rising to 219 deals post pandemic. Along similar lines, corporate travel has emerged as the flavor of the season with the number of deals doubling to 25 post-pandemic.”

Recent notable deals in the corporate travel arena include Wego’s acquisition of Travelstop, Tripbam getting snapped up by Emburse and Travelport’s acquisition of Deem.

A number of exits have also been tracked via the annual PhocusWire Hot25 Travel Startups series, which has seen companies including Hopper, Amadeus and FlightCentre acquire travel startups that made our lists. Further analysis of travel startup exits is available in the recently published Phocuswright State of Startup Funding report, while the Cambon data and other trends will be discussed during an investor session at The Phocuswright Conference. 


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