American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has agreed to acquire fellow travel management company Kanoo Travel.

GBT will form a joint venture with parent company YBA Kanoo Group to provide managed travel and events services to clients in the Middle East.

The joint venture will be headquartered in Dubai with GBT holding 65% of the business and its 539 employees with YBA Kanoo Group holding the remaining 35%.

Kanoo Travel was already a member of GBT’s global travel partner network. It operates in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, is subject to approval and is expected to close in Q4 2019 or early Q1 2020.

Elyes Mrad, GBT’s managing director, international, said: “Kanoo Travel has been a trusted, long-term partner for GBT in the region for many years and is known and respected by many of our clients.

“The creation of the joint venture will enhance how we service those clients and their travellers by combining Kanoo’s region-specific expertise with the backing of GBT’s global scale and technology.”

Nabeel K. Kanoo, president of Kanoo Travel, said: “GBT’s global clients, many of whom we already service, stand to benefit from a more consistent global offering because of this joint venture.

“Our people are also excited by the possibilities that come with being part of the world’s most recognisable business travel brand.”