Carlson (US)

Carlson is a family-owned group which has traditionally specialised in hospitality and travel services. Currently its biggest subsidiary is hotel group Carlson Rezidor, which manages the international Radisson, Quorvus and Park Plaza hotel brands, with combined system sales of $32bn in 2015. However, Carlson agreed in 2016 to sell this business to Chinese travel and tourism group HNA for an undisclosed sum. Its main remaining business will be international business travel agency Carlson Wagonlit, with sales volumes of $24bn in 2015. A third division, casual dining chain TGI Fridays, was sold to private equity buyers in 2014. The original core of the business, CRM and loyalty marketing agency Carlson Marketing Group, was sold in 2009 to what is now Aimia. The company was founded in the late 1930s by former P&G sales rep Curtis Carlson to launch Gold Bond trading stamps, an early form of loyalty marketing for retailers. That business really took off with the emergence of supermarkets in the 1950s, and Carlson expanded his business into hospitality, acquiring the original Radisson Hotel in Minneapolis in the 1960s, followed by TGI Fridays restaurants and travel agency group First Travel in the 1970s. Carlson Wagonlit was formed by the merger of First Travel with European agency Wagonlit, and the group acquired several other hospitality business including Regent International Hotels. Following Curtis Carlson's death in 1999, the family have slowly but steadily broken up the business. Carlson Rezidor was created from the injection of the Carlson Hospitality Group into publicly quoted Scandinavian group Rezidor, but both these units will now be acquired by HNA in 2016. The group is overseen by five of Curtis Carlson's grandchildren. Adbrands does not currently offer a business profile for this company but subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.

Capsule checked 10th May 2016

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