American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) said Friday it plans to combine with Apollo Strategic Grown Capital and go public, creating what it called the "world's largest publicly traded B2B travel platform."
GBT, No. 3 on Travel Weekly's 2021 Power List, will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol GBTG. It said the companies would combine at a pro forma market capitalization of $5.3 billion.
"Becoming a public company will be a historic milestone on GBT's growth journey," CEO Paul Abbott said in a statement. "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. We expect that becoming a listed company will give us the additional investment capacity to strengthen our commitment to providing unrivaled value, choice and experiences to our customers and partners."
Abbott was referencing a slew of new strategic and institutional investors in GBT: Zoom Video Communications; Sabre; Apollo Strategic Growth Capital's sponsor, an affiliate of alternative asset manager Apollo; funds managed by private equity group Ares Management Corporation; and investment adviser HG Vora.
Once the transaction closes, GBT said, those companies will join American Express Company, Expedia Group and Certares as shareholders.
GBT and Apollo Strategic Growth Capital's boards have approved the transaction, which is scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2022. It is subject to regulatory approvals. If approved, the combined company will be named Global Business Travel Group, continuing to conduct business under the GBT name and brand.
Additionally, at the close of the transaction, GBT will continue to be able to use the American Express trademark for GBT and American Express GBT Meetings & Events under an 11-year agreement.