American Express Global Business Travel is to acquire Hogg Robinson Group (HRG) in a deal to merge two of the top-three travel management companies (TMCs) in the world.
HRG is valued by American Express GBT at up to £410 million, with the deal expected to go through in the second quarter of the year subject to regulatory approval.
Details of the leadership of the combined businesses have yet to be announced. However, a statement to investors said the combined business would use “the best available talent from both Hogg Robinson and GBT”.
It is understood to be undecided whether the HRG name will continue.
In a separate but related deal, HRG announced the sale of its software as a service business Fraedom to Visa for almost £142 million.
The amount American Express GBT pays for HRG could vary depending on whether this sale to Visa is completed – with the deal expected to go through in March.
American Express GBT is jointly owned by a private equity-led consortium of investors formed by PE firm Certares and American Express in 2014. The company was formerly solely owned by American Express.
Investors in the TMC include the Qatar Investment Authority and investment firms BlackRock and Macquarie Capital.
In a joint statement American Express GBT and HRG said the merger would accelerate growth “by utilising complementary footprints and solutions”, allow them to combine “two advanced travel technology and development platforms to create better products and services”, deliver “cost savings and scale benefits” and “maximise efficiencies”.
American Express GBT chief executive Doug Anderson said: “The complementary geographical footprints of each company will improve the global scale and reach of our business, enabling us to achieve efficiencies across a best-in-class platform and accelerate growth.
“The technology roadmaps of each business provide a powerful platform from which to drive future innovation.
“We will deliver a superior client and traveller experience through fully-integrated travel management solutions.”
HRG chief executive David Radcliffe said: “This transaction represents a good deal for shareholders and stakeholders.
“I am particularly heartened by American Express GBT’s reassurance that it will be utilising the best talent and technology from within both organisations.”
Greg O’Hara, head of Cetares and chairman of the American Express GBT board, said: “Significant customer, operational and financial benefits are expected.”
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