PARIS -- Concluding an agreement that was begun in April, American
Express sold off the leisure agencies of American Express Havas
Voyages, the largest travel company in France, to Germany's C&N
Touristic, the third largest travel company in Europe. The cost of
the deal was not disclosed.
American Express retains ownership of Havas Voyages' corporate
agencies and business centers, as well as Havas Communication
Voyages, which specializes in incentives. American Express
purchased Havas Voyage in 1998.
American Express said it plans to focus on a growth strategy of
developing franchisees. Fifty-five of the 380 agencies that were
sold to C&N will be franchised to the American Express
Havas Voyages' volume from its corporate business amounted to
$1.6 billion in 1999, including revenue from 70 business centers
and 150 in-company agencies. The leisure end of its business
brought in $889 million.
C&N Touristic, with annual sales of $4.5 billion, currently
owns 1,600 agencies across Europe, as well as hotels (51,000 beds),
and several tour operators, including Neckermann.