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American Express GBT to acquire Banks Sadler

Companies sign deal in 'pivotal' moment, promising customers they will not notice any change

Pictured: Banks Sadler will operate as part of American Express Meetings & Events in Q3

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has signed an agreement to acquire Banks Sadler.

The deal will see Banks Sadler, whose headquarters are in London, operate as part of American Express Meetings & Events, a division of GBT.

While neither company would reveal the price paid, a multiple of five to six times pre-tax profits is standard. However with the US$ exchange rate where it is, it is believed the price could well be higher than the £10-£12 million range.

The transaction is expected to be completed in Q3, where the Banks Sadler company and its staff will formally become part of the GBT family, though it will retain the Banks Sadler branding and name.

Issa Jouaneh, senior vice president and general manager of American Express Meetings & Events, said: "Banks Sadler is one of the most respected M&E brands. It brings an extensive range of services and solutions with an independent agency mindset that we will maintain and grow. Combined with American Express Meetings & Events leading capabilities and global footprint, our clients will benefit from an expanded value proposition."

Banks Sadler was founded in 1982 in London and has offices in York, Windsor, Paris, Dusseldorf and New York.  It has approximately 250 employees. Over the last 35 years, the business and brand have established themselves among the most trusted in the marketplace. Under the leadership of Leigh Jagger, the company has expanded its service and portfolio to multiple marketplaces.

Jagger said: "The sale is a pivotal moment. Though customers will not notice any change, the business is now supported by one of the largest travel and meetings management companies in the world. We will, therefore, continue to offer best-in-class, event planning and management while benefitting from American Express Meetings & Events’ supplier relationships, global scale and expertise of strategic meetings management programmes (SMMPs)."

Accounts filed in Companies House show Banks Sadlers' pre-tax profits grew from £1.44 million in 2015 to £2.074m in 2016, in what director's called "another year of impressive growth". Operating profits also grew 50 per cent to £2.154m, exceeding £1m for the fourth year in a row.

Steven Curts, American Express GBT’s chief strategy officer, added: "In transient business travel and meetings and events, our focus is always on improving customer experience, product offering and global footprint through strategic acquisitions, partnerships and organic growth.  The purchase of Banks Sadler is another important step on our strategic journey."

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