Hills Balfour acquired by MMGY
London, United Kingdom (Thursday, 8 March 2018) – Hills Balfour, Europe and Dubai’s leading travel and tourism marketing communications agency, has officially joined forces with MMGY Global, the world’s largest integrated marketing company specialising in travel and hospitality. The merger, announced today, which includes Hills Balfour’s offices across London and Dubai, significantly expands MMGY Global’s footprint and brings the agency’s total number of employees to more than 400 and overseas offices to four, including Madrid, Taipei, and now additionally London and Dubai.
As a result of Hills Balfour’s brand recognition and long-standing reputation as a European and Middle East leader, the agency will continue to trade as Hills Balfour, and it will now be known as Hills Balfour, an MMGY Global Company. The MMGY brand and services will now also be introduced into both regions as MMGY London and MMGY Dubai. The two firms will begin integrating operations this year.
Following MMGY Global’s acquisitions over the last two years of DK Shifflet & Associates, Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations, Myriad Marketing and Spring O’Brien, the merger with Hills Balfour fuels its global expansion and commitment to integration across all travel marketing channels.
“Expanding our presence beyond Madrid, Hills Balfour is the right step into Europe for us, and we see our foothold in the UK market as an excellent base to expand across the key European and Middle East tourism markets,” stated Clayton Reid, CEO of MMGY Global. “Their reputation in-market, along with an exceptional senior management team and a loyal and long-standing client base, made our merger of operations an easy one.”
Amanda Hills, Hills Balfour’s founder and CEO, will remain an integral part of the business, continuing to oversee the London and Dubai firms’ overall operations. She will assume the new role of President, HB and MMGY London and Dubai, partnering with the MMGY Global senior management team to grow the agency’s European footprint.
“Joining forces with MMGY Global is a truly exciting move for everybody involved. Taking the strength of their services and extending this through Hills Balfour into the UK and Dubai markets is a logical move and offers even greater benefit to both our clients and our teams at Hills Balfour, all of whom will be part of this journey,” said Amanda Hills, founder of Hills Balfour. “Adding MMGY Global’s very comprehensive multi-disciplinary skillset to complement our existing roster of superb marcomms, PR, representation, creative, digital and advertising experience will provide a complete solution for the market and ensure ultimate recognition as the world’s largest global marketing firm specialising in travel and tourism.”
“We have worked with MMGY Global and their team through the Travel Consul network for a number of years, and this official partnering was the obvious next step,” continued Hills. “Entering into Hills Balfour’s twentieth anniversary with a now combined total of over 400 employees internationally, we see unparalleled opportunity for our staff as a result of this coming together, which will include access to the resources of a full-service global agency, increased bandwidth, expanded talent and new products and services to offer our clients. One of the main advantages is that we will continue to retain our independence, and thereby our autonomy, to deliver the creative thinking for which we are known.”
Hills Balfour is the fourth merger and acquisition by MMGY Global since private equity firm Peninsula Capital Partners (www.peninsulafunds.com) and Fine Equity Partners (investor Jeffrey Fine, founder of CIBT) made a significant equity investment into MMGY Global in February 2016.
Hills Balfour was advised on the transaction by Cavendish Corporate Finance (Linda Sullivan, Partner, Head of Media and Digital) on financial matters, Osborne Clarke (Edward Persse and Tim Birt) on legal matters, Maureen McGrory (consultant) on human resources matters and by tax advisors Stein Richards (Rolanda Hyams). MMGY Global was advised on the transaction by Grant Thornton on financial matters, by Foley & Lardner, LLP on legal matters in the U.S. and by Duane Morris on legal matters in the U.K. and Dubai.
About MMGY Global:
MMGY Global is the world’s largest integrated global marketing company specializing in the travel, hospitality and entertainment industries. With more than 37 years of experience in the tourism field, the award-winning agency maintains a global communications practice in all marketing channels, serving many of the world’s premier travel and tourism brands. MMGY Global is the author of acclaimed industry research (including the Portrait of American Travelers®) that identifies the habits and preferences of travelers – insights that serve as the foundation for its marketing and creative strategies. For more information, visit www.mmgyglobal.com.
About Hills Balfour:
Hills Balfour is Europe and Dubai’s leading public relations and marketing communications firm, offering a wide range of comprehensive marketing services to the world’s leading travel and tourism brands. Covering the whole travel and tourism sector, Hills Balfour’s clients include tourist boards, airlines, tour operators, OTA’s, hotels and travel tech providers, with integrated divisions encompassing PR, sales, trade and consumer marketing including digital, social media, events, luxury and business events. For more information, visit www.hillsbalfour.com.
For further information, please contact:
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 593 1717
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 593 1715