BTN Europe presents an overview of business travel and MICE predictions for this year
Virtual Event - 25-26 May 2021
Virtual Event - 9 June 2021
Thursday 9th September, JW Marriott Grosvenor House
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has
made a binding offer to acquire Egencia, the corporate travel arm of Expedia.
As part of the transaction, Expedia Group is to become a shareholder in, and
enter a long-term strategic commercial agreement with, GBT.
Paul Abbott, GBT’s CEO, said: “Our strategy is to
provide customers with unparalleled choice by having the best solutions for
each managed travel segment that we serve. In Egencia, we would welcome the
industry’s leading digital business travel platform.
“Egencia would be strengthened by GBT’s
complementary technology, enterprise capabilities and cutting-edge content.
This would create new opportunities for both multinational and small and
medium-sized enterprise (SME) clients, suppliers and the talented teams within
President of Expedia Business Services Ariane Gorin
said: “We are thrilled by the potential transaction and what GBT and Egencia
could achieve together, as Expedia Group seeks to simplify our business and be
a leader in all of our endeavours. The combination of GBT’s leading solutions
with Egencia’s great technology and team would help create the world’s best
business travel offerings for customers and suppliers.
“At the same time, a greatly expanded, long-term
accommodations supply agreement with Expedia Partner Solutions would
enhance GBT’s Supply MarketPlace and meaningfully further Expedia Group’s goal
of powering businesses across the entire eco-system.
“Expedia Group strongly believes in the robust
return of travel, including in the corporate space. We’re excited about our
potential ownership in GBT and our long-term arrangement to power Egencia and
GBT, as we do for thousands of other travel companies,” Gorin added.
Abbott told BTN Europe that the deal to acquire Egencia was "not opportunistic".
is a strategy we developed 18 to 20 months ago. It has nothing to do with the current pandemic," he said.
On the Expedia investment in GBT, he added, "We think it is a real vote of confidence in our business
and think it is a real vote of confidence in the return of business travel."
Expedia's Ariane Gorin told BTN Europe: "We are very excited to be welcomed into the
ownership group of GBT. We really believe in the return of corporate travel as vaccines are rolled out."
Abbott said that GBT would continue to invest in the Egencia brand and its technology following the closure of the deal. "It will be a distinct product alongside Ovation [which GBT acquired in January] and alongside Amex GBT."
He added, "Customers often have to
choose a TMC that is 'one size fits all'. Our strategy is to make sure we have
the best solution for all the segments we service. If a customer is looking for a
sophisticated global multinational TMC and they are outsourcing all aspects of travel from end to end, then Amex GBT is the recognised leader. If you are a private equity company or hedge fund looking
for 24/7 personal service and for a combination of business travel and
premium leisure then that is Ovation. If you are a customer looking for a turnkey integrated digital platform with a unrivalled experience on mobile, desktop or chat, then that is Egencia."
The deal is subject to consultation by Expedia Group and Egencia with their applicable employee representatives, as well as customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals.
GBT said it is not disclosing the new equity structure. It is currently owned 50 per cent by American Express and 50 per cent by an investment consortium led by Certares and including the Qatar Investment Authority. Abbott said that all of the existing investors "would remain".
GBT announced in December 2019 that it was undergoing an equity recapitalisation which would have seen Carlyle Group take a stake. However, Carlyle pulled out of the deal after the pandemic hit, leading to court action between Certares and Caryle. The lawsuits were dropped in February this year with both sides covering their own costs.
In last year's leading 50 TMCs, Amex GBT ranked first and Egencia eighth in the UK ranking.