We’ve seen the world’s biggest travel management companies building partnerships to tap into the growing small- and medium-sized business travel over the last year, but acquisitions have traditionally been the most popular way for agencies to grow their business in particular markets.

As much as dynamics shift in corporate travel, most things stay the same.

American Express Global Business Travel, the world’s biggest travel management company by transaction volume, will acquire German player DER Business Travel for an undisclosed purchase price, the companies announced Tuesday.

DER Business Travel is a part of DER Touristik Group, which is owned by German travel conglomerate REWE Group. DER Touristik Group is primarily a tour operator serving six million guests annually.

The move will increase American Express Global Business Travel’s presence in the German mid-market following its acquisition of major European travel management company Hogg Robinson Group last year.

“Given the complementary nature of our businesses, the acquisition is a great opportunity for everyone involved,” said Elyes Mrad, American Express Global Business Travel’s senior vice president and managing director, international. “GBT services many global and multinational clients, while DER is focused on small to medium sized enterprises trading in Germany.”

DER Business Travel has 600 employees in 42 offices around Germany and its main office in Frankfurt. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019. It had signed a partnership with American Express Global Business Travel in January 2018, so the deal makes a bit of sense.

A side effect of Hogg Robinson Group’s integration into American Express Global Business Travel has been many partner agencies being cut loose or partnering with rival agencies. This looks like a move to shore up the company’s offerings in the competitive German marketplace, where many multinational companies operate large offices.

Photo Credit: A Lufthansa plane at Frankfurt airport in Germany. Skift