The Association of Corporate Travel Executives has reopened merger talks with the National Business Travel Association, delivering to NBTA last week a broad outline of the proposed merger.

ACTE and NBTA, both located in Alexandria, Va., began merger talks in April, but negotiations broke down in mid-June after ACTE voted against continuing the process. Just weeks later, ACTE announced a strategic alliance with the Professional Convention Management Association.

However, after ACTE announced its new negotiations with NBTA last Wednesday, PCMA then announced it would no longer pursue an alliance with ACTE. “We were never talking about a merger,” said Brad Lewis, PCMA’s vice president of marketing and communications. However, the organizations were in a due diligence phase, Lewis said, to see what synergies could come from co-locating meetings and sharing education and research initiatives. “NBTA and ACTE reopened talks, I think, through the encouragement of their sponsors,” said Lewis, noting that as a result it no longer made sense to continue to pursue the alliance.

Among the key points of the proposed ACTE-NBTA merger are:

  • Co-branding for the next two years followed by the creation of a new name,
  • A new interim board formed with five members from the current boards of ACTE and NBTA. After two years, new elections would be held among the joint membership with non-U.S. seats guaranteed,
  • The NBTA president and new executive director being sourced by NBTA would lead the combined organization,
  • Education would be led by ACTE, based on the ACTE philosophy,
  • A new membership model would be developed balancing the ACTE and NBTA philosophies,
  • All ACTE and NBTA 2009 programming would continue as planned.
"Adoption of these terms, coupled with an entirely new negotiation team, is the best way to guarantee the creation of one new organization, designed to provide each region with an equal voice and equal representation, continue ACTE’s excellence in professional education, while providing the best value for both members and sponsors," said ACTE President Richard Crum. “The marketplace wants and needs a combination of the best of both organizations, best practices, and deliverables,” Crum said. “This will not be accomplished by the takeover of one association by another, but rather a true merging of ideas, philosophies, and memberships—all committed to creating a new organization.” To effect a merger, ACTE is legally required to get approval from 51 percent of its membership.