Amex GBT is becoming a public company

Move expected to create the world's largest publicly traded B2B travel platform, with new investors including Sabre and Zoom.

Becoming a public company is a "huge vote of confidence in our business and the future of business travel, and meetings and events," says Paul Abbott, CEO of GBT.
Becoming a public company is a "huge vote of confidence in our business and the future of business travel, and meetings and events," says Paul Abbott, CEO of GBT. Photo Credit:Getty Images/Maksym Belchenko

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) will become a public company through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deal with Apollo Strategic Growth Capital (APSG).

With plans to trade under the ticker GBTG, the company is expected to have a market capitalisation of US$5.3 billion.

The transaction is expected to provide up to US$1.2 billion of gross proceeds, of which US$335 million is fully committed from new investors including Apollo, Sabre, Zoom Video Communications, private equity group Ares Management Corporation and investment adviser HG Vora.

Upon the closing of the transaction, these companies will become shareholders of GBT, joining American Express Company, Expedia Group and Certares.

“Becoming a public company will be a historic milestone on GBT’s growth journey. Commitments from new investors like Zoom, Sabre, Apollo, Ares and HG Vora are a huge vote of confidence in our business and the future of business travel, and meetings and events,” says Paul Abbott, CEO of GBT.

“We expect that becoming a listed company will give us the additional investment capacity to strengthen our commitment to providing unrivalled value, choice and experiences to our customers and partners.”

According to GBT’s investor presentation, prior to the pandemic, the company managed US$39 billion in global business travel spending in 2019 — a 40% higher total transaction value than its next closest competitor that year, BCD Travel.

Revenue in 2019 was US$2.8 billion and adjusted EBITDA was US$502 million. And, thanks in part to US$235 million in cost reductions the company has implemented since early 2020, it says it can return to that adjusted EBITDA level if its business returns to just 70% of 2019 levels.

GBT says nearly half, 48%, of its revenue comes from companies in the United States and 26% is from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Three-quarters of its revenue comes from travel and 24% from product and professional services. The company notes that “no single customer or supplier accounts for greater than 6% of total revenues".

Among its 19,000 customers, GBT says it has 40 companies on BTN’s Corporate Travel 100 list, five of the 10 largest US banks, five of the 10 largest health care companies and three of the four “Big Four” accounting firms.

The company says it is “positioned for significant growth in the high-value SME segment,” in part due to its acquisition of Egencia from Expedia Group, which closed in early November and doubles GBT’s roster of small- and medium-size enterprises.

GBT estimates total travel spend by SMEs was US$270 billion in 2019 but only 30% of that was “managed” — creating a significant growth opportunity.

Both GBT and APSG boards of directors have approved the proposed transaction, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022.

Upon the closing of the transaction, the combined company will be renamed Global Business Travel Group, Inc. and will continue to conduct its day-to-day business under its existing name and brand American Express Global Business Travel.

Source: PhocusWire



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