UK competition watchdog to investigate Amex GBT-CWT deal

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced that it’s investigating American Express Global Business Travel’s proposed acquisition of rival travel management company CWT.

Amex GBT’s $570 million deal to buy CWT was first announced in March and would bring together the primary and third largest TMCs in Europe. But the transaction may have to receive regulatory approval in key markets akin to the US, UK and the EU.

The CMA said in an announcement that it was considering whether the blockbuster TMC deal would fall “under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002” as a part of its preliminary Phase 1 investigation.

“And, if that’s the case, whether the creation of that situation could also be expected to lead to a considerable lessening of competition inside any market or markets within the United Kingdom for goods or services,” added the CMA.

The authority is inviting comments on the impact of the Amex GBT-CWT deal “from any interested party”, with a deadline for submissions of 18 June.

The CMA has also set the deadline of 30 July to choose whether to provide the acquisition the green light or go ahead with a more in-depth Phase 2 investigation.

Amex GBT has previously said that it hoped to finish the acquisition of CWT in the course of the second half of this yr. 

For more background about this deal, read BTN Europe’s interview with Amex GBT’s CEO Paul Abbott concerning the company’s rationale for purchasing CWT.


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