Amex GBT forming Middle East joint venture

DUBAI—American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) will acquire a controlling stake in Kanoo Travel, a Middle East travel management network. GBT will form a joint venture with parent company YBA Kanoo Group to provide managed travel and events services to clients in the Middle East.

Kanoo Travel, which for years has been a member of GBT’s global travel partner network, operates in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. The transaction is subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and customary conditions and is expected to close in Q4 2019 or early Q1 2020.

GBT will hold 65 per cent of the new joint venture, headquartered in Dubai, and assume management and operational control of the business and its 539 employees. YBA Kanoo Group will hold the remaining 35 per cent stake.

“Kanoo Travel has been a trusted, long-term partner for GBT in the region for many years and is known and respected by many of our clients,” Elyes Mrad, says GBT’s managing director, international. “The creation of the joint venture will enhance how we service those clients and their travellers by combining Kanoo’s region-specific expertise with the backing of GBT’s global scale and technology.”

The financial terms of the deal are undisclosed.