How a CWT-Amex GBT merger reorders the corporate travel landscape

With American Express Global Business Travel's planned acquisition of CWT, the landscape of travel management companies will shrink yet again

Mar 28, 2024

Amex GBT sits at No. 3 on the 2023 list, with $23 billion in 2022 sales. The TMC is behind only the online travel giants Booking Holdings and Expedia Group, in spots No. 1 and 2, respectively. CWT took fifth place on the 2023 list with $13.6 billion in sales. Sitting between GBT and CWT at No. 4 is another corporate travel-focused agency, BCD Travel.

Key takeaways

  • Experts agree that the CWT acquisition, expected to close in the second half of the year pending regulatory approval, is not likely to encounter regulatory hurdles, as new entrants like Navan, TravelPerk and Spotnana offer competition;
  • Amex GBT's acquisition bid comes at a difficult time for CWT, one of travel's oldest companies. CWT has struggled in recent years, entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2021 but exiting it just a day later. CWT has also carried a heavy debt load in the past two years. Those financial troubles likely contributed to the sale;
  • The cost of technology is increasing, CWT's platforms will further bolster the technology assets Amex GBT gained from its 2016 acquisition of travel technology company KDS. Today, KDS makes up GBT's Neo Technology Group.

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