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AmEx Global Business Travel to go public through £4bn merger

B2B travel platform American Express Global Business Travel is to go public via a merger with Apollo Strategic Growth Capital. AmEx GBT is currently 50% owned by American Express Co.

The new combination with the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) will have a market capitalisation of £4bn ($5.3bn).

The transaction is to provide up to £904m ($1.2bn) of gross proceeds, including an oversubscribed £252m ($335m) PIPE (private investment in public equity) investment at $10.00 per common share with key investors including Apollo, Ares, HG Vora, Sabre and Zoom.

Over the past year AmEx GBT has acquired several companies, including Ovation Travel Group, Expedia Group’s corporate travel arm Egencia and 30SecondsToFly, a travel tech startup.The combined company will be renamed Global Business Travel Group after the merger closes, likely in the first half of 2022.

Listing on New York Stock Exchange anticipated to accelerate growth strategy and provide additional investment capacity.

Paul Abbott (pictured), GBT’s chief executive officer, said: “Becoming a public company will be a historic milestone on GBT’s growth journey. Commitments from new investors like Zoom, Sabre, Apollo, Ares and HG Vora are a huge vote of confidence in our business and the future of business travel, and meetings and events. We expect that becoming a listed company will give us the additional investment capacity to strengthen our commitment to providing unrivalled value, choice and experiences to our customers and partners.”

Sanjay Patel, CEO of APSG and Partner at Apollo, said: “We are delighted to support Paul and the GBT team alongside American Express Company, Expedia Group, Certares and the PIPE investors. We look forward to executing this combination and to supporting GBT’s future growth as a public company.”

Kelly Steckelberg, chief financial officer at Zoom, said: “We are thrilled to invest in GBT and look forward to working with their talented team as they strive to deliver innovative and engaging virtual, face-to-face, and hybrid meeting and event experiences. Companies are increasingly looking for experts and best-in-class technology solutions for meetings and events in the new hybrid world, as evidenced by the demand for Zoom Events.

“Our companies share a relentless focus on the customer experience, and we are excited to leverage our Zoom Events solution to collaborate with GBT to bring unmatched meeting services to businesses of all sizes around the world.”

Under an 11-year agreement to take effect upon closure of the transaction, GBT will continue to have the right to use the American Express trademark in connection with the American Express Global Business Travel and American Express GBT Meetings & Events brands.