HFS Incorporated, which completed a merger with the UK fleet management operation's US parent PHH Corporation only last month, has in turn merged with CUC International to form one of the world's Top 30 companies. With market capitalisation of £13.8 billion and operations in 181 countries, the new organisation, whose name has still to be agreed, will be the world's largest provider of consumer and business services.
The deal marries brands like PHH, car rental giant Avis in the US, and hotel chains Ramada and Century 21 with the direct marketing clout of CUC International, which has information on some 68 million members of its numerous activities worldwide.
ALTHOUGH synergies in fields like fleet fuel cards exist, CUC is involved in more consumer-focused activities such as home shopping, loyalty schemes and discount membership schemes. The company has only limited penetration in Europe with some four million members, but the merger will obviously open new doors on this side of the Atlantic.
PHH in the UK will benefit from CUC's systems technology and especially from its new owner's advanced electronic commerce expertise, although its commitment to the TransLease system will not be jeopardised in the short term.
PHH Europe president John Cullum said the merger would not compromise its vehicle management activities in the UK, but would create opportunities for PHH to offer a wider range of services to its clients. The immediate benefits include the cross-selling of established HFS brands and services to CUC's huge database of consumers.