Fast-expanding holiday business Barrhead Travel Group was tonight acquired by a US-based industry giant for an undisclosed sum in a move that sees the familiar Scottish brand retained.
Barrhead, which was founded in 1975 and has more than 75 locations and some 900 employees and agents, only just announced multi-million-pound plans earlier this week to expand its footprint in both Scotland and England.
The surprise news of the takeover by Travel Leaders Group will see the US company add the firm to a UK portfolio that also includes Colletts Travel, Protravel International UK and Tzell UK.
Barrhead’s chief executive Sharon Munro – the majority owner of the business – will continue to manage the operation. Her father and Barrhead founder, Bill Munro, will serve in a “strategic advisory role” as chairman of the Barrhead division within Travel Leaders Group.
No major changes in operations are anticipated and the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter.
Sharon Munro said: “Joining with Travel Leaders Group will give us the resources to expand into additional markets, access to new technology and the ability to innovate. This agreement creates exciting new prospects for both our enterprises.”
Travel Leaders Group chief executive Ninan Chacko said: “Barrhead is a great addition to our family of brands. It’s an innovative, award-winning travel business that is on a trajectory for continued growth.
“From its high-touch retail travel superstores to its online presence, Barrhead offers personalised attention, technology tools, highly-trained travel specialists and a wide range of travel products and services.”
He added: “Bill and Sharon Munro have devoted their careers to building this extraordinary business. We’re pleased that the Munro family is entrusting the future of Barrhead, its employees, agents and customers to our organisation.
“We’re excited about this chance to expand our presence in Scotland and the UK overall and the opportunities this affords both companies.”
Travel Leaders Group is one of North America’s largest travel companies – encompassing nearly one-third of all travel agents on the continent. Overall, it has some 7,000 agency locations.
The group manages leisure, business and franchise travel operations under a variety of divisions and brands, including All Aboard Travel, CruCon and SinglesCruise.com.