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American Express Global Business Travel Growth Strategy Builds Momentum with New, Long-Term Investors

December 18, 2019
  • American Express retains 50% stake in the joint venture; commits to long-term stake in business travel
  • The Carlyle Group’s long-duration private equity platform, Carlyle Global Partners, and GIC join investor consortium
  • Certares commits to American Express Global Business Travel; Founder and Senior Managing Director Greg O’Hara continues as Board Executive Chairman

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), the world’s leading business partner for managed travel, today announces the signing of an agreement for an equity recapitalization of its joint venture ownership structure to maintain GBT’s focus on its long-term growth strategy.

Since the joint venture was formed in 2014, it has established its position as the world’s largest travel management company. GBT has more than 18,000 employees across a network of more than 140 countries and manages more than $35 billion of corporate travel every year.

American Express (NYSE: AXP) will retain its 50% ownership stake, while the Certares-led investor group holding the other 50%, including Qatar Investment Authority, certain funds managed by BlackRock, and Teacher Retirement System of Texas, will now include The Carlyle Group’s (NASDAQ: CG) long-duration private equity platform, Carlyle Global Partners, and GIC, an institutional investor. In addition, the University of California Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the Regents, and Kaiser Permanente, have also joined the investor group. Greg O’Hara, the Founder and Senior Managing Director of Certares, will continue as Executive Chairman of the GBT Board of Directors.

O’Hara said: “This investment validates the success of the joint venture and underscores the strength of our long-term growth strategy. We are pleased to continue working with American Express and nearly all of our original investors, as well as welcoming Carlyle, GIC and others to the group.”

Leading GBT’s next phase are recently appointed Chief Executive Officer Paul Abbott, and members of GBT’s executive management team continuing in their current roles. Abbott said: “To have the continued support of growth-oriented investors willing to commit capital for long-term value creation is great news for our business, our customers and our people. We are poised for the next phase of organic growth and M&A activity, fueled by continued investment in breakthrough technology and our unwavering commitment to putting our customers and their travelers at the center of everything we do.”

The terms of the transaction are not disclosed. 

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is the world’s leading business partner for managed travel. We help companies and their employees prosper by making sure travellers are present where and when it matters. We keep global business moving with the powerful backing of 18,000 travel professionals in more than 140 countries. Companies of various sizes, and in all places, rely on GBT to provide travel management services, organize meetings and events, and deliver business travel consulting.

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American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success.  Learn more at and connect with us on,,,, and

Key links to products, services and corporate responsibility information: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, Accertify, InAuth, corporate card, business travel, and corporate responsibility.

Established in 2012, Certares focuses on direct investments in proprietary transactions, leveraging deep sector experience in the travel and hospitality industries, and with a consistent emphasis on partnership with management teams to drive growth. Certares brings together a team with decades of both operational and investment experience in private equity, travel, tourism, hospitality and travel-related business and consumer services.  For more information, please visit

The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) is a global investment firm with deep industry expertise that deploys private capital across four business segments: Corporate Private Equity, Real Assets, Global Credit and Investment Solutions. With $222 billion of assets under management as of September 30, 2019, Carlyle’s purpose is to invest wisely and create value on behalf of our investors, portfolio companies and the communities in which we live and invest. The Carlyle Group employs more than 1,775 people in 33 offices across six continents.

Carlyle launched its longer-term private equity platform, Carlyle Global Partners, in 2014 to pursue opportunities that leverage Carlyle’s expertise, resources and global reach in investments that benefit from longer hold periods and structural flexibility.

GIC is a leading global investment firm established in 1981 to manage Singapore’s foreign reserves. A disciplined long-term value investor, GIC is uniquely positioned for investments across a wide range of asset classes, including equities, fixed income, private equity, real estate, and infrastructure. GIC has investments in over 40 countries. Headquartered in Singapore, GIC employs over 1,500 people across 10 offices in key financial cities worldwide. For more information about GIC, please visit

About Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) - Qatar Investment Authority is the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar and is a major contributor to realizing the Qatar National Vision of 2030. QIA was founded in 2005 to strengthen the country's economy by diversifying into new asset classes. Building on the heritage of Qatar investments dating back more than three decades, QIA’s growing portfolio of long-term investments help complement the State of Qatar's wealth in natural resources. Headquartered in Doha, and with a subsidiary in New York (QIA Advisory), QIA is structured to operate at the very highest levels of global investing. As a world-class investor, QIA adheres to the strictest financial and commercial disciplines. QIA has a strong track record of investing in multiple asset classes, including listed securities, property, alternative assets and private equity in all the major markets globally. QIA seeks socially, economically, and environmentally responsible investments and looks beyond short-term returns, as QIA pursues balanced and sustainable growth to maximize long-term returns. For more information, please visit

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