Hays Travel says it is ‘actively seeking’ more acquisition opportunities after buying franchise partner Just Go Travel.
Just Go Travel, run by founder Don Bircham, operates 46 branches across the north west and north Wales.
Forty five of the shops – which operate as Hays Travel North West – will now be owned by the Hays group, with one, in Mold, north Wales, continuing to be run as a Hays franchise by Don.
Don (pictured) joined Hays Travel as an Independence Group member over 22 years ago, before becoming a franchisee in 2015.
He said: “Although there has to be an element of sadness that my journey has come to an end, it gives me great comfort that all my staff have found a great home with Hays Travel, our partners for over 20 years.
“All 300 jobs are safe and secure, with little disruption to day-to-day activity and better opportunities for career development and progression.
“I pay tribute to Lindsey Barber, our retail director, the senior management team, and all the staff who have delivered underlying profits (EBITDA) of £6 million for the last financial year.
“My thanks to [Hays Chair] Dame Irene Hays for her support in recent years, and of course to her late husband John. My journey, like so many others in the industry, could not have happened without him.
“I’m not quite ready yet for retirement and I’m delighted that we will retain our very first store in Mold, North Wales and operate it under the Hays Travel brand.
“I also intend to take a more active role in our bar and restaurant portfolio, as well as developing the inbound tourism opportunity that has grown in Wrexham and North Wales since the involvement of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney at my beloved Wrexham FC.”
Dame Irene said: “Don Bircham is a true entrepreneur and among the most experienced people in the travel industry. Just Go is an outstanding business and we are all delighted with this latest acquisition.
“Don employs great people who have delivered fantastic results and we look forward to welcoming them to the Hays Travel family.
“This acquisition has come at a perfect time for Hays Travel as we focus on executing our strategic priorities around cruise and experiential travel.
“I wish Don all the very best success for the future.”
Dame Irene told Travel Gossip last year that Hays was negotiating to buy two more retail businesses as part of its expansion plans.
A spokesperson told Travel Gossip: “Hays Travel is actively seeking acquisition opportunities.
“We offer an attractive future for businesses and great opportunities for their staff.
“We also offer some members who join our Hays Travel Independence Group or franchise arrangements the opportunity to sell their business to Hays Travel in the future, which gives them an earn out option – just as Don has benefited from in the Just Go acquisition.”