In October 2011 BGF invested £4.25m in Statesman Travel Group (Statesman), an independent travel management company providing a comprehensive service to blue chip corporate and private clients.
The BGF investment, together with additional funds from existing shareholders and support from Lloyds Banking Group, funded the strategic acquisition of Commodore Travel (Commodore) and helped to create one of the top 10 UK travel management companies in terms of transactional volume, with revenues approaching £100m.
Statesman was acquired in 2007 by its current management team, Joint Managing Directors Mervyn Williamson and Jon Langley, both of whom have had significant experience in the travel sector and led the management buyout of Phoenix Travel Group, together with its subsequent sale to TQ3 Travel Solutions in 2003. Non Executive Director Eric Brannan is an experienced travel industry veteran, having held senior roles at American Express and Hogg Robinson, and has worked closely with the management team since 2001.
In December 2014, Statesman appointed Drew Thomson to the board as Non-Executive Chairman. Drew is the former Chief Executive of Airmiles and BA Miles, and was the founder and former Chief Executive of Starcount, the social analytics company which uses mathematics to track the tastes and trends of 1.7bn people and 126,500 celebrities across 12 major social media networks. Drew was also Executive Chairman of Iris Worldwide, a digital media agency, where he led the development and international growth of the Iris group business.
The company has a blue chip customer base with strong representation from the financial services, professional services, property and media sectors. The business has also made significant progress recently in securing more professional service firms as clients with companies including an international accountancy firm who are now using Statesman’s new travel management application.
In July 2015, Statesman also acquired air fare consolidator Greaves Travel and merged into its Masterfare division to expand market share on popular routes to India, Africa, south-east Asia and Australia with British Airways and other leading carriers.