The recent acquisition of the Carlson Leisure Group (CLG) by the Travel Acquisitions Group (TAG), dealt a body blow to prophets of doom for the travel agency industry. A second blow is this week's appointment of Lehman Brothers veteran J.D. O'Hara, who will serve as TAG's new senior vice president of corporate development.
O'Hara will begin his new responsibilities immediately by seeking merger and acquisitions opportunities, according to Michael Batt, Chairman and CEO of TAG. Also revealed is TAG's intent to foster expansion among existing TAG franchise agencies by investing in growth opportunities. TAG agencies include former CLG units.
O'Hara comes directly to TAG from Lehman Brothers, an innovator in global finance, where he advised clients and financial sponsors on mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, asset purchase/divestitures, and capital market transactions.
"We make no secret of our ambition and growth plans. We intend to significantly grow our own and our franchisees' businesses and play a major role in the further consolidation of our industry," stated Batt.
"Already today, our company-owned and franchise sales total over $6 billion, which is more than enough to place TAG in the top eight travel companies in the United States. But as our name boldly asserts, we plan to achieve significant growth through acquisitions, and by adding J. D. O'Hara to our team, we are further demonstrating our commitment toward accomplishing ourobjectives."
Batt said O'Hara will oversee the use of external capital to help TAG grow even faster. "In addition to the acquisitions O'Hara will spearhead, we also plan to provide our growth oriented franchisees with expansion capital to turbo charge their individual growth plans. Ultimately, franchisees will have access to J.D.'s services to help them grow."
The former Carlson Leisure Group is now known as Travel Acquisitions Group (TAG) to reflect a forward-thinking growth-oriented core philosophy and culture. Travel Acquisitions Group was formed in January 2008 when travel and hospitality giant Carlson sold its Carlson Leisure Group to the management team led by Batt. TAG has more than 1,700 travel agency locations, along with loyalty travel fulfillment and call centers, in the United States and Canada.
TAG also manages numerous corporate, leisure and franchise travel operations throughout the United States under a variety of diversified brands. (GD)