Carlson Acquisition

Carlson Wagonlit Travel announced on April 27 that it would acquire TQ3 Navigant; in addition, Carlson Cos. said it would buy out the 50 percent share of Carlson Wagonlit that is owned by Accor (with some help from a private equity affiliate of JPMorgan Chase & Co., One Equity Partners). The purchase of TQ3 Navigant, which includes assuming debt, is estimated to be worth approximately $510 million, given a price per share for Navigant of $16.50. The acquisition effectively doubles CWT's size in North America, as well as boosting its presence in Asia Pacific as a result of Navigant's operations in Australia and New Zealand. CWT, as the number one travel management company outside North American and the number two in North American, will generate annual gross volume of more than $26 billion and net revenues of more than $1.6 billion (based on 2005 results). Hubert Joly will remain in his post as president and CEO of CWT, although Ed Adams, Navigant's chairman and CEO, announced he would pursue other opportunities after he helps the two companies through the transition phase. Both Joly and Adams stressed that the most important element of the transaction is maintaining the best customer service possible, citing the medical principle "do no harm." Both companies were eager to represent the transition as a process of bringing together two companies in a thoughtful, careful manner. "We cannot drop the ball," said Jolie in a press conference. Adams commented that he was "pleased to note the similar cultures [of the two companies] of passion for pleasing the customer." The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies and will be put to a vote by the shareholders in the near future.

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