Midconsort Elite’s board is to discuss a potential alliance with Advantage after the latter ditched plans to join a Triton Travel Group merger.
Advantage bowed out of merger talks with Triton members Global Travel Group and Worldchoice this week after failing to get the board’s support. The board’s decision was unanimous, according to Advantage chief executive John McEwan.
The idea of a tie-up between Advantage and Midconsort Elite is understood to have been mooted for months.
Midconsort Elite, which enjoyed an alliance with Worldchoice before Triton was formed, admitted the issue would be discussed at its June 19 board meeting.
Director Peter Buckell, of Global Travel Lounge, said: “I’d like to see us work together in some shape or form. It would be an alternative to Triton and have purchasing benefits for members.”
General manager Paul Cowley stressed Midconsort Elite was not on the lookout for a strategic partner.
He added: “It would be up to members to decide on any tie-up. Midconsort is 100% owned by its members and is fiercely independent.
“It is likely to be discussed because Advantage has come out of negotiations with Triton and may want a new partner. If the opportunity came along, we’d be fools not to look at it.”
McEwan, who said the board had not recommended the merger because of doubts over the value to members, added: “We would look positively on any dialogue with Midconsort Elite.”
Global founder and Triton advisor George Begg was adamant Advantage would not leave Triton. “Advantage is committed to Triton and Triton is committed to Advantage I don’t see this as a possibility.”
But he admitted he was disappointed and surprised by Advantage’s decision not to merge. “We all entered Triton with this as a goal,” he said. “But we are not shedding tears over it. Obviously some things will change, but the Triton relationship continues as it is.”
The fastest a Worldchoice/Global merger could go through is six weeks, by mid July, with a flotation within three years. Roadshows start next week. Colin Heal would continue as chairman of the merged group, and Triton director Andrew Botterill would be chief executive.
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