Consolidation across corporate travel continues unabated, as the big get bigger by picking off midsized travel management companies.
American Express Global Business Travel, the biggest travel management company in the world by transaction volume, is moving more strongly into the Middle East through a joint venture with Kanoo Travel.
The move follows a variety of acquisitions by American Express Global Business Travel in recent years including KDS and Germany’s Hogg Robinson Group. It will acquire a controlling 65 percent stake in Kanoo Travel through a joint venture with parent company YBA Kanoo Group to operate business travel services from offices headquartered in Dubai.
The value of the deal was not disclosed. Kanoo Travel was the first agency in the Middle East certified by the airlines group IATA and claims to be the largest travel management company in the region. The deal is expected to receive regulatory approval in late 2019 or early 2020.
“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,” said Elyes Mrad, American Express Global Business Travel’s international managing director. “The creation of the joint venture will enhance how we service those clients and their travelers by combining Kanoo’s region-specific expertise with the backing of GBT’s global scale and technology.”
This deal joins a long list of competitive moves by corporate travel’s top players. Earlier this year American Express Global Business Travel acquired Germany’s DER Business Travel, furthering its already extensive presence in Europe. BCD Travel recently acquired Japan’s Hitachi Travel Bureau and Milwaukee-based Adelman Travel.
Upstart travel management companies TripActions and Travelperk have both raised a bunch of funding, as well, as they attempt to scale and compete with established players.
More jockeying for scale and market penetration is surely on the way as the business of business travel remains good and everyone’s war chests are filled up to the brim.