ECONOMY

TripActions Buys Reed & Mackay for ‘White Gloves’ Travel Service

TripActions Inc., a corporate travel and expense management company, has acquired London-based Reed & Mackay Travel Ltd. to add a specialist in high-end corporate clients amid early signs of a recovery in business demand. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The combined companies will have $5 billion in corporate travel budgets under management, with more than 5,000 customers. TripActions, based in Palo Alto, California, bought Reed & Mackay to secure its expertise in providing “truly bespoke hands on, high touch, white gloves service” for corporate officers, board members and VIPs, Danny Finkel, TripActions chief commercial officer, said in an interview.

The acquisition signals confidence in the return of international business travel that was decimated during most of the past year by the Covid-19 pandemic and a broad move to working from home and staging meetings online. TripActions, which added customers during the coronavirus outbreak, is seeing about a 40% recovery in bookings, including some leisure trips, compared with pre-pandemic levels.

“Because we see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s almost the opportune time to make a play like this because it really gets both sides ready for a full return to travel,” Finkel said. TripActions believes the U.S. and the U.K. are “super close” to reopening critical travel corridors between the countries, he said.

Reed & Mackay will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary, retaining its brand and current leadership, with little integration for the foreseeable future. Reed & Mackay’s clients include legal and financial firms along with insurance and energy companies. Both companies are closely held.

Inflexion Private Equity Partners, which acquired Reed & Mackay in 2016, declined to comment April 29 for a Bloomberg News article that it was trying to find a buyer for the travel management company.

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