Travel and tourism PR and marketing firm Hills Balfour has been taken over by a US-based company for an undisclosed sum.

The deal with MMGY Global, described as the world’s largest integrated marketing company specialising in travel and hospitality, includes Hills Balfour offices in London and Dubai.

The acquisition brings MMGY Global’s total number of staff to more than 400 and overseas offices to four, including Madrid, Taipei, London and Dubai.

The company will continue to trade as Hills Balfour, and will now be known as Hills Balfour, an MMGY Global Company. The two firms will begin integrating operations this year.

Hills Balfour is the fourth merger and acquisition by MMGY Global since private equity firm Peninsula Capital Partners and Fine Equity Partners made a significant equity investment into MMGY Global in February 2016.

The take over follows MMGY Global’s acquisitions of DK Shifflet & Associates, Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations, Myriad Marketing and Spring O’Brien.

Amanda Hills, Hills Balfour founder and chief executive, will remain with the business, overseeing the London and Dubai firms’ overall operations.

She will assume the new role of president, HB and MMGY London and Dubai, partnering with the MMGY Global senior management team to grow the agency’s European footprint.

MMGY Global chief executive Clayton Reid said: “Expanding our presence beyond Madrid, Hills Balfour is the right step into Europe for us, and we see our foothold in the UK market as an excellent base to expand across the key European and Middle East tourism markets.

“Their reputation in-market, along with an exceptional senior management team and a loyal and long-standing client base, made our merger of operations an easy one.”

Hills added: “Joining forces with MMGY Global is a truly exciting move for everybody involved.

“Taking the strength of their services and extending this through Hills Balfour into the UK and Dubai markets is a logical move and offers even greater benefit to both our clients and our teams at Hills Balfour, all of whom will be part of this journey.

“Adding MMGY Global’s very comprehensive multi-disciplinary skillset to complement our existing roster of superb marcomms, PR, representation, creative, digital and advertising experience will provide a complete solution for the market and ensure ultimate recognition as the world’s largest global marketing firm specialising in travel and tourism.”

“We have worked with MMGY Global and their team through the Travel Consul network for a number of years, and this official partnering was the obvious next step.

“Entering into Hills Balfour’s twentieth anniversary with a now combined total of over 400 employees internationally, we see unparalleled opportunity for our staff as a result of this coming together, which will include access to the resources of a full-service global agency, increased bandwidth, expanded talent and new products and services to offer our clients.

“One of the main advantages is that we will continue to retain our independence, and thereby our autonomy, to deliver the creative thinking for which we are known.”