American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has acquired Ovation Travel Group and all its brands.

GBT did not disclose the terms of the acquisition.

GBT ranked No. 3 on Travel Weekly's 2020 Power List with $34.1 billion in 2019 sales. Ovation was No. 15 on that list with $1.6 billion in sales.

Paul Abbott
Paul Abbott

According to GBT, Ovation and its employees will become a division of GBT's Global Customer Partnerships organization. Ovation's management team will remain in place, as will its brands.

Ovation has a 36-year history in the industry, helmed by CEO and chairman Paul Metselaar, who grew the agency with its flagship brand, Lawyers Travel.

• Related: A standing Ovation

Paul Abbott, GBT's CEO, said the acquisition comes at a difficult time as the industry is still in the grips of the coronavirus crisis, but it represents a forward-looking business decision.

"As we address short-term challenges, we must continue to invest for the future and deliver on our long-term strategy," he said. "I believe this deal will enhance the collective value and service we offer clients, suppliers and partners, and will create real opportunities for growth."

Paul Metselaar
Paul Metselaar

Eric Bock, global head of mergers and acquisitions at GBT, said the company has continued to grow its presence in the small- and medium-enterprise segment in the U.S. throughout the pandemic. Ovation is "a very high-quality asset and business," Bock added.

Metselaar said, "GBT's 100 years of service excellence, its value-driven culture and its commitment to leading the industry complement us on a global scale, giving me huge confidence in the future."


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