American Express Company has signed an agreement to create a joint venture for its Global Business Travel division (GBT).
Under the agreement, American Express will share ownership of the joint venture with an investor group led by Certares. In the proposed transaction, Amex will separate its GBT operations into a dedicated holding structure, which will include certain assets and liabilities that currently comprise GBT, and will have a 50% ownership stake in the joint venture following the closing.
In exchange for an investment of $900 million in the joint venture, the investor group will hold the remaining 50%. American Express initially announced its intention to pursue this joint venture transaction in September 2013.
The Certares-formed group includes Qatar Investment Authority through its wholly owned subsidiary Qatar Holding LLC, funds managed by BlackRock, Certares itself and Macquarie Capital. The business will continue to operate under the American Express Global Business Travel brand following the closing. American Express expects to execute comprehensive commercial agreements with the joint venture to provide uninterrupted service and close co-ordination for the benefit of mutual customers of GBT and American Express’ other business units, such as Global Corporate Payments, which issues the American Express Corporate Card and provides business-to-business payment solutions.
Bill Glenn, formerly president of Global Commercial Services at American Express, will be president and chief executive officer of the joint venture. Certares founder Greg O’Hara will serve as chairman.