American Express GBT Enters Into Agreement to Go Public
Company also announces long-term technology deal with Sabre >>
by: Harvey Chipkin
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) announced that it has entered into an agreement with Apollo Strategic Growth Capital (NYSE: APSG), a special purpose acquisition company, in a deal that would take the company public with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the new ticker symbol GBTG. Becoming a public company, according to an announcement, positions GBT to accelerate its existing growth strategy, while providing additional investment capacity and flexibility to create more value and choice for customers. Among a new group of strategic and institutional investors committed to joining GBT’s PIPE (private investment in public equity) are the communications platform company Zoom Video Communications; the global travel technology company Sabre; APSG’s sponsor, an affiliate of the alternative asset manager Apollo; funds managed by the private equity group of Ares Management Corporation (“Ares”); and the investment adviser HG Vora. Upon the closing of the transaction, these companies will join American Express Company, Expedia Group, and Certares, a travel investment specialist, as shareholders. Paul Abbott, GBT’s chief executive officer, said that becoming a public company will be “a historic milestone on GBT’s growth journey.” He said 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.” He said the company expects that becoming a listed company will give it the additional investment capacity to strengthen its commitment to “providing unrivaled value, choice and experiences to our customers and partners.”
In another announcement, GBT revealed a long-term, multifaceted strategic partnership with Sabre focused on developing technologies “that will enable the future of corporate travel distribution.” Under the terms of this newly expanded technology partnership — which takes effect in January — GBT will increase its commitment with Sabre and make a multimillion-dollar, long-term annual investment in joint technology development with that company over the next 10 years. The partnership between two industry leaders, said an announcement, puts the two companies in an ideal position to deliver best-in-class products and services throughout the corporate travel ecosystem and drive meaningful growth to both companies and the travel ecosystem in its entirety. Sean Menke, CEO of Sabre, said that while the expectations of corporate travelers and corporations have fundamentally changed, the demand for new, differentiated products that are designed for specific travelers’ needs is likely to be more pronounced. The partnership with GBT, he said, “is rooted in the common beliefs we share regarding the technology needs which will enable participants throughout the travel ecosystem to meet these new demands.” “Abbott said that combining Sabre’s retailing and content aggregation capabilities and GBT’s corporate customer software and world-class customer service “will enable the companies to deliver the business travel experiences corporate travelers want.”
Upon the closing of the transaction, the combined company will be renamed Global Business Travel Group, Inc. and will continue to conduct its day-to-day business under its existing name and brand American Express Global Business Travel.