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American Express Global Business Travel to form Middle East joint venture

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), the world’s leading business partner for managed travel, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling stake in Kanoo Travel, one of the largest travel management networks in the Middle East. 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 has been a key member of GBT’s global travel partner network for many years, 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% 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% stake in the joint venture.  

Elyes Mrad, GBT’s Managing Director, International, said: “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. 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.”  

Nabeel K. Kanoo, President of Kanoo Travel, said: “GBT’s global clients, many of whom we already service, stand to benefit from a more consistent global offering because of this joint venture. Our own clients in the Middle East will profit in the long term from having access to GBT’s total travel and expense eco-system, proprietary technology and global reach. Our people are also excited by the possibilities that come with being part of the world’s most recognisable business travel brand.” 

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