16 experts advise on what’s to come this year.
Industry speculation about American Express Global Business
Travel tying the knot with France-based travel and expense technology KDS is
confirmed. The travel management company announced the acquisition today,
calling it “part of a broader investment strategy by GBT to develop an
industry-leading suite of traveler-centric online and digital services, sitting
on top of the company’s core technology platform for business travelers.”
Rumors of a potential KDS acquisition
began months ago, but revived last week when Amex GBT announced Doug Anderson, former
Carlson Wagonlit Travel CEO, had taken the chief executive role vacated by Bill
Glenn in April.
CWT and KDS established in 2014
what KDS CEO Dean Forbes characterized at the time as “much more than just
a distribution partnership,” that focused on KDS’ Neo, the tech company’s door-to-door
booking technology. Amex GBT looks to be focused on Neo as the game-changer
technology, as well. The press statement called Neo “KDS’ leading product.”
chief commercial and technology officer Philippe Chereque said the goal was to
bring together “an industry-leading online
solution and travel management company to create the first seamless end-to-end
experience centered on the modern business traveler. This will also enable us to provide GBT
customers with a proprietary door-to-door online booking tool supported
by our new technology infrastructure.”
Forbes said, “We look
forward to leveraging the support and assets that GBT will provide us to better
serve GBT customers, whilst also continuing to serve our existing customers and
partners with great products and services” Those clients currently include the aforementioned CWT but also BCD Travel and Travel and Transport, among others.
Amex GBT and KDS expect the deal to close in the fourth quarter. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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