BGF exits Statesman Travel Group

BGF has exited its investment in Statesman Travel Group, a high-end travel management company, following Statesman’s acquisition by US based Travel and Transport. Statesman was bought in whole by Travel and Transport in an undisclosed all-cash transaction.

Initially, Statesman was acquired in 2007 by joint Managing Directors Mervyn Williamson and Jon Langley, who have many years’ experience in the corporate travel industry.

BGF became a minority stakeholder in Statesman in September 2011, when it invested £4.25m, representing one of BGF’s first investments. The company used the investment to acquire Commodore International Travel and became a top 10 UK travel management company in terms of transactional volume. During the past five years, the company has grown steadily and now serves more than 250 customers around the world.

Statesman’s operations are viewed as having a strategic global fit for Travel and Transport, which has a similar customer base of businesses and individuals requiring a high touch service within their travel programs. Travel and Transport is the fifth largest travel management company in the US, with sales of $3bn in 2016. The organisations have mutual clients and it is intended that these relationships will be enhanced through Travel and Transport’s leading global technology platform.

Will Gresty, an investor at BGF, oversaw BGF’s initial investment in Statesman and served as BGF’s non-executive director. He will step down from the Board following BGF’s exit.

Statesman Managing Director, Mervyn Williams explained: “We have benefitted over the years from BGF’s financial backing and sound advice. As BGF’s second investment, we have watched the company and team grow. Throughout our partnership, they have been supportive of our goals and ambitions.

“We look forward to taking the next steps in Statesman’s journey with Travel and Transport, exploring the synergies between the two businesses and adding further value to our customers.”

Commenting on the exit, which will produce an attractive return for all shareholders, Will Gresty said: “Mervyn and Jon have worked hard to grow Statesman into the business it is today and there will be many benefits from joining forces with Travel and Transport. BGF’s funding has helped Statesman to achieve acquisitive and organic growth. We now look forward to seeing the business grow under the Travel and Transport umbrella.

Kevin O’Malley, President and CEO of Travel and Transport, added: “We look forward to welcoming all of Statesman Travel Group’s employees and customers to the Travel and Transport family and we are excited that Mervyn Williamson will continue to lead the UK organisation.”

By Business Growth Fund 24 May 2017