This transaction makes one of the largest private players in leisure travel, Apple Leisure Group, even bigger and sweetens the potential reward for the almost inevitable private equity sale of its assets.
When Apple Leisure Group was sold to private equity giant KKR last year, evidence suggested the leisure travel giant would hunt for more deals to expand its portfolio.
Apple Leisure Group announced Monday it will merge with Mark Travel Corp, a longtime player in the leisure travel and travel technology sectors. Apple Leisure Group, which traces its roots to 1969, operates a vertically integrated series of vacation companies ranging from destination management and hotel management services to online booking sites for consumers.
The financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, were not disclosed. Although the announcement of the two companies’ “joining forces,” didn’t state the dynamics of a merger, it appears as though Apple Leisure is calling the shots. Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group, will be leading the combined company.
“In an intensely competitive industry, our combined company will be well-positioned to provide great value for consumers and customers while continuing to serve the needs of our partners across the travel industry,” said Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group. “This strategic combination will leverage the complementary strengths of both companies to provide new and enhanced products and solutions to our customers and partners.”
While Zozaya will lead the combined company Mark Travel’s Bill La Macchia and Bill La Macchia Jr. will serve on the company’s board. Bill La Macchia founded the privately held company, which is headquartered in Milwaukee, in 1974.
Mark Travel provides destination and tour operator services around the world and manages vacation brands for global airlines. The most notable of these are United Vacations and Funjet Vacations, which has a consumer-facing component but is used by travel agents, as well.
Mark Travel’s technology arm, Trisept Solutions, which provides travel agency technology solutions, is also part of the deal.
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Photo credit: Apple Leisure Group will acquire Mark Travel Corp., including its popular brands like Funjet Vacations and United Vacations. Pictured is Apple Leisure Group CEO Alex Zozaya (left) speaking with Skift Business Travel Editor Andrew Sheivachman at Skift Global Forum in New York City in September 2017. Skift