Navigatr Group, led by founder and CEO Jeff Willner, is the parent company of tour operator Kensington Tours along with retailers Travel Edge and Travel Edge Network, plus tech division TripArc. Navigatr Group has also acquired a number of well-known travel brands over the years and folded them into the group’s operations. They include The Travel Network, Worldview Travel and Horizon & Co.

In the days leading up to yesterday’s announcement, Florida-based Hickory Global Partners mounted a war of words on the deal, accusing Ensemble of lack of transparency, after it said its own bid for the consortium wasn’t presented to Ensemble’s members.

However Ensemble shareholders voted in favour of the acquisition by Navigatr, a deal that Ensemble CEO David Harris says will yield benefits to members and suppliers alike creating a new and innovative consortium model.

Vancouver’s Sanjay Goel, President, Cruise Connections, said he couldn’t be more excited about the acquisition. “It represents an opportunity to bring together the best of each company for what is going to be a stronger consortium. Members like me and others, will be able to deliver better deals through pricing power, and better value with enhanced inclusions. All of this with improved commissions, and profitability. After what we’ve been through the last two years, the timing of this deal is perfect.”

The deal is expected to close at the end of May. Harris will assume the role of Chairman of Ensemble Travel Group post-acquisition.

Says Harris: “We are very pleased that the shareholders saw the myriad opportunities this deal offered for them from access to new technology and resources to the ability to streamline supplier contracts and programs. Among the many benefits is that Ensemble members will be able to transact as they have always done, but with access to additional revolutionary travel  platforms such as ADX, which offers agents instant commission visibility, one click insurance and more to improve efficiencies and earnings.”

Michael Johnson, previous President of Travel Edge, is set to take on the role of President of Ensemble Travel Group.

“As I have come to know the Ensemble team and members over the past several months, I am more confident than ever of the value that this new consortium model represents,” said Johnson. “It’s been very gratifying to hear from members about their excitement at the additional opportunities and resources that will be available to them to grow and enhance their businesses. The new Ensemble is truly poised for significant network growth to deliver for all of our stakeholders.”

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