American Express acquires stake in Kanoo Travel
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.Established in the late 1930s, Kanoo Travel is considered one of the largest travel management companies in the MENA region. With over 1,500 travel specialists across the region, operating a network of IATA locations, specialising in corporate travel, meetings, incentives, conferences, and events, leisure and holiday travel, airline representation and marine travel. GBT will form a joint venture with Kanoo Travel 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 UAE, 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. The financial terms of the deal are undisclosed. GBT will hold 65 per cent of the new joint venture, headquartered in Dubai, and assume management and operational control of the business. YBA Kanoo Group, Kanoo Travel’s mother company will hold the remaining 35 per cent 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 Travel’s region-specific expertise with the backing of GBT’s global scale and technology.” Nabeel Khalid 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 JV. 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 recognizable business travel brand.” “For more than 70 years, Kanoo Travel has provided innovative travel management solutions across the region. Backed by one of the largest independent, family-owned companies in the Gulf, YBA Kanoo, Kanoo Travel offered dependable, compliance-driven, and cost-effective services that exceed customers’ expectations. Now, we take our services and excellence a step further by joining our long-term partners GBT in becoming a truly global network,” Nabeel Kanoo added.