American Express Global Business Travel has agreed to acquire KDS, a France-based provider of corporate-travel booking and expense technology. Financial terms of the acquisition were not made public, but both parties expect the deal to close in the fourth quarter.
The deal is in line with the technology-focused strategy GBT laid out two years ago when American Express spun off its business-travel division. The KDS acquisition had been rumored for some time; speculation began again last week when GBT named as its new CEO Douglas Anderson, who had developed a technology partnership with KDS when he was CEO at Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
Neo, the KDS platform, is an integrated online-booking tool and mobile travel app. "We are bringing 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," said GBT chief commercial and technology officer Philippe Chereque. "This will also enable us to provide GBT customers with a proprietary door-to-door online-booking tool supported by our new technology infrastructure."
The acquisition, the latest in an industrywide trend toward consolidation, accentuates the importance service providers are placing on mobile technology and the overall traveler experience. American Express GBT will continue to support other online-booking tools for its clients.