Skift Take

This deal would break the mold of so many technology plays we've seen to date, giving JP Morgan an edge in supporting bookings with experienced consultants.

JP Morgan Chase has signed a definitive agreement to buy corporate and luxury travel agency Frosch.

The deal represents a new “business line” for the bank, according to Bryan Leibman, the agency’s president and CEO.

“It should give all of us immense pride to be recognized for our industry leading achievements and excellence and to become a foundation for JP Morgan Chase as they enter a new business line,” he said this week in an internal staff memo seen by Skift.

However, like Capital One, JP Morgan has already made significant inroads into the travel sector over recent years, snapping up cxLoyalty Group Holdings’ global loyalty division in December 2020. The deal included cxLoyalty’s full service travel agency, as well as technology platforms, gift card, merchandise and points bank businesses.

Taking over family-owned Frosch and its experienced travel consultants gives it more opportunities to better manage its travel bookings, with a human touch rather than artificial intelligence called for in the premium corporate and luxury sectors. The agency, which is co-headquartered in New York City and Houston, has offices in more than 40 locations worldwide. It was founded in 1972 and has more than 2,000 employees.

Banks and credit card company Capital One helped online travel agency Hopper raise $170 million in new funding last year. Other notable Capital One deals include buying startup Freebird in 2020, and last year it acquired most of the employees and technology of Lola, a corporate travel booking and expense app.

U.S. Bancorp bought Will Smith-Backed travel platform TravelBank for $200 million in November last year.

For now, Frosch and other brands including Plaza Travel, LUXE Travel, Mann Travels and Valerie Wilson Travel, which it acquired in May last year, will remain intact, and continue “under the JP Morgan Chase umbrella,” according to Leibman. Frosch also received a minority investment from private equity firm EagleTree Capital in February last year.

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Tags: banks, business travel, corporate travel, hopper, jp morgan chase, loyalty, luxury, travel management

Photo credit: Frosch specializes in luxury and business travel. Roberto Nickson / Unsplash