Navigatr Reaches Agreement to Acquire Travel Agency Consortium Ensemble: Travel Weekly

Pending shareholder approval, Ensemble Travel Group has reached an agreement to be acquired by private investment firm Navigatr Group.

If Ensemble shareholders approve the transaction, Ensemble will operate as a stand-alone entity within Navigatr and continue operations in the United States and Canada.

Current CEO David Harris would become president of Ensemble and Michael Johnson of Navigatr would become president. Johnson is the former president of host agency Travel Edge, a Navigatr portfolio company.

Ensemble operates as a member-owned cooperative, with agency owners as shareholders. It has more than 600 members in the United States and Canada. Ensemble said shareholders have been notified of the potential transaction and a special meeting of shareholders will be held on April 14. Additional details on the potential acquisition and details on the voting process will be shared at this meeting.

“While the pandemic has certainly brought many challenges to our industry, it has also given us the opportunity to explore new ideas and relationships,” Harris said in a statement. “Although it is up to shareholders to decide the future of Ensemble, this is an exciting opportunity that would combine Ensemble’s areas of expertise and strong network of agencies with the vast wealth of resources of Navigatr who we know will create a compelling value proposition within the consortia space.”

Navigator invests in travel agencies. He said his brands account for more than $1 billion in annual transactions. These brands include Kensington Tours, Travel Edge (#20 on Travel Weekly’s 2021 Power List), and TripArc.

In a joint announcement, Ensemble and Navigatr said the acquisition would bring “numerous benefits” to stakeholders. For example, the companies said Ensemble’s strengths in cruises, tours, marketing and data monetization could be leveraged with Navigatr’s expertise in providing technology. Agencies could sell more efficiently by bundling services into a single-price transaction, they said.

Navigatr was considering launching its own consortium, Johnson said. The company was attracted by the value proposition offered by Ensemble.

“This partnership is a great example of where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, delivering significant benefits to members and suppliers,” he said.

Ensemble and Navigatr have been working on a transition plan to ensure smooth operation if the acquisition is approved.

Correction: Travel Edge stated that Michael Johnson was its former president. An earlier version of this report listed Johnson as the current president of Travel Edge.

Willie R. Golden