Sunday, April 14, 2013

Apple Leisure Group to acquire Travel Impressions from Amex

By Michelle Baran
American Express Travel Related Services Company Inc. and Apple Leisure Group have entered into an agreement under which Apple will acquire Amex’s global tour operator business, including Travel Impressions.

Apple will also acquire American Express Vacations International, Amex’s international tour operator businesses in Europe and Mexico, which is managed by Travel Impressions.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter. Additional terms were not disclosed.

Under the agreement, Travel Impressions will be a preferred supplier of American Express Travel, Amex’s travel agency network. It will license the American Express Vacations brand and will remain the exclusive supplier of packaged vacation products and services sold through the brand to American Express Travel's customers.

Travel Impressions will continue to operate its business under the existing brand name, and will continue to selling its products beyond those provided to American Express.

"We are very pleased with the acquisition of Travel Impressions and the international tour operator business, which have an outstanding reputation for providing successful customer-centric programs and processes," Jeff Mullen, co-president of Apple Vacations (the tour operator division of Apple Leisure Group), said in a statement.

Tim Mullen, co-president of Apple Vacations, stated, "This strategic transaction provides a tremendous opportunity to enhance the Apple Leisure Group portfolio and drive greater value and service to our customers by taking advantage of the strong executive and employee teams of both companies to promote sustained industry leadership."

Private investment firm Bain Capital Partners invested in Apple Leisure Group in December 2012, and served as a close strategic partner with Apple’s management team in driving this next phase of growth.

Travel Impressions CEO Steve Gorga said, "This is the right next step for our company.”

Travel Impressions and Apple Vacations have long been competitors in the industry, both having built their business on selling packages to fun-and-sun destinations and beyond.

Travel Impressions was founded in 1974 and offers packages to more than 200 destinations.

Apple Leisure Group is a holding company comprised of Apple Vacations; AMResorts, a hotel management company; Amstar, a destination-management company; and Unlimited Vacation Club, a members-only travel club.

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