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INTERVIEW: TQ3 President & CEO Marc Hildebrand

INTERVIEW: TQ3 President & CEO Marc Hildebrand

The sale of German bank Westdeutsche Landesbank's stake in tour giant TUI earlier this month cleared one hurdle to a deal in which TUI could move to buy Navigant International. Navigant already has a partnership with TUI division TQ3 Travel Solutions, whose president and CEO, Marc Hildebrand, last week spoke with The Beat's Jay Campbell about the merits of network ownership and the competitive landscape in global travel management. An excerpt of the discussion follows.

TQ3's Hildebrand Won't Go With BCD

TQ3 Travel Solutions president and CEO Marc Hildebrand will leave his post when his company is acquired by BCD Holdings, which is expected late this month, The Beat has learned. Hildebrand joins COO Toby Joseph as senior TQ3 officials who will not continue with the new travel management company to be created by the combination of WorldTravel BTI and the TQ3-branded agencies still owned by German firm TUI.

TQ3 Buys Into Navigant

TQ3 Travel Solutions of Germany over the past two months acquired 9 percent of Navigant International's shares and could take the stake up to 14.9 percent, TQ3 disclosed today in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Navigant's shares rose more than 11 percent in morning trading.

Amex Cuts Offshore Partnership As Well As U.S. Jobs

American Express on October 31 terminated a partnership with Tampa-based Sykes Enterprises for Emergency Travel Service call support in the Philippines. At its peak, the center handled 20 percent of 24-hour emergency service calls for Amex, a spokesperson said.

Navigant's Down Under Deal To Close In Feb.

Navigant International expects next month to close on its acquisition of Synergi Travel New Zealand and Australia, helping fill missing pieces in the TQ3 Travel Solutions global puzzle. Navigant said Synergi recorded 'aggregate airline ticket and incentive meeting sales' in the most recent 12-month period of about $70 million in New Zealand and $200 million in Australia.

TUI Transaction Revives Navigant Talk; TQ3 Mum

The bank sale is key because U.S. regulations preclude companies that are part owned by a foreign bank from investing in travel companies here. TQ3 CEO Marc Hildebrand has said full ownership of its network is a high priority for TQ3 as it competes with American Express, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Business Travel International for multinational corporate travel accounts. During the past year, TQ3 has lost partners in France and the United States to acquisitions by CWT.

COMMENT: U.S. Should Step Up On Sustainability

PricewaterhouseCoopers in Britain is boosting videoconferencing, screening suppliers and funding offsets to mitigate the environmental impact of its business travel, according to an article published last month by Business Travel News.

COMMENT: Much To Do At BCD

The emerging travel management company owned by BCD Holdings, which this week named itself BCD Travel, generally is planning to target corporate clients of all sizes around the world. Yet, WorldTravel in the United States will continue to focus on multinational clients while the more than 50 small and midsize TMCs in the WorldTravel Affiliates program bid on smaller and midsize corporate business, the company said today.

TUI Shareholder Gets Bids In Possible Precursor To Navigant Deal

The Financial Times today reported that U.S. private equity firms have shown interest in buying 31 percent of TUI, the Hannover, Germany-based tourism giant that owns mega corporate travel agency TQ3 Travel Solutions. The stake is owned by Germany's Westdeutsche Landesbank (WestLB). 'We are not pressed for time and we will not sell at less than fair value,' a WestLB spokesperson told Reuters.

Worldspan Out As Amadeus Names Winning Bidders

Amadeus today confirmed that its major owners agreed with British private equity firms BC Partners and Cinven to take the Spanish global distribution system provider private. Valued at more than $5.6 billion, the deal takes Worldspan's owners out of the running for Amadeus, at least delaying the possibility of an Amadeus-Worldspan merger.