American Express Global Business Travel has agreed to acquire a 65 percent stake in Middle East travel management company network Kanoo Travel. GBT described Kanoo as one of the largest travel management networks in the Middle East. It operates in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Kanoo and GBT’s association began in 1980, when Kanoo became GBT’s sole agency in Saudi Arabia, according to Kanoo’s website.
After GBT announced plans to acquire German TMC Der Business Travel, GBT CEO Doug Anderson told BTN sister publication The Beat that GBT could expand its wholly owned agency footprint into “three or four more markets around the world.” A GBT spokesperson confirmed that the Kanoo deal falls into that bucket.
GBT expects the transaction to close by the first quarter of 2020, pending regulatory approval. A GBT-operated joint venture with Kanoo parent company YBA Kanoo Group will be headquartered in Dubai and encompass Kanoo’s 539 employees.