A half stake in the business travel division of American Express is being sold for $900 million to partners that include Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund.
Amex will create a joint venture with an investor group led by Certares International Bank and Qatar Holding.
The business will use the American Express brand and be headed by Bill Glenn, the New York-based firm’s president of global commercial services.
The Amex consumer travel operation is not part of the deal.
The deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter, and Amex may invest some proceeds in growth initiatives, according to the company.
The card issuer cut its travel services staff last year as consumers and businesses relied more on digital technology for bookings.
Travel commissions and fees fell 1.4% to $1.9 billion last year, and Amex said in September it was considering a spinoff valued at $700 million to $1 billion.
Amex chief executive Kenneth Chenault said: “The joint venture reflects our continued commitment to the travel business through a new structure.”
The division employs more than 14,000 people, operates in 139 countries and handles more than $19 billion in spending.
Qatar Holding is a subsidiary of the Qatar Investment Authority that controls more than $100 billion of assets.
New York-based Certares is led by Michael Gregory O’Hara, a former chief investment officer of JPMorgan Chase & Company’s special investments group.
He will serve as chairman of the joint venture.
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