Groupe Aeroplan to acquire Carlson Marketing

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Montreal-based Groupe Aeroplan announced on November 3 that it will acquire Carlson Marketing, a Minneapolis-based company also operating in the loyalty space. The deal is expected to close next month.

Executives for both companies told DMNews they expect the $175.3 million deal to help the combined organization expand outside of North America.

"We're very strong in Canada; Carlson is very strong in the US, but longer term it's a question of saying, 'Where else in the world can we take this expertise?'" said Rupert Duchesne, president and CEO of Groupe Aeroplan. "We will now be able to get into markets like India or South or Central America, where previously neither of us had the capital wherewithal to do it before."

There will be no layoffs or management changes. Carlson will remain headquartered in Minneapolis and the two firms will operate separately.

"The synergies between the two organizations were extremely compelling. We have strong roots in financial and automotive and airline; they bring resources that we're not that deep in, like retail," said Jeff Balagna, president and CEO of Carlson. "Conversely, we have a global footprint that really allows us to extend the combined service offering to our clients.”

Groupe Aeroplan named Mark Mortimer-Davies CEO of its Air Miles Middle East division in October. Earlier this month, it signed a business-to-business loyalty agreement with Astral Media, a Canadian media conglomerate.

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