American Express signed an agreement to create a JV for its Global Business Travel division. American Express will share ownership of the JV with an investor group led by Certares, by which American Express 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%.
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 coordination 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.