In a continuing effort to refocus its business strategy on its payments sector, the American Express Company (NYSE: AXP) announced on Thursday that it will buy from the General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) subsidiary GE Money its property called Corporate Payment Services, a commercial card and corporate purchasing business unit that handles the travel, entertainment and purchasing spending by employees of large corporations and mid-sized companies.
AmEx will pay GE Money $1.1 billion in cash, AmEx said in its statement.
Yet the comments by AmEx President Anré Williams, who spearheads the company's Global Commercial Card & Services division, make clear that he thinks the GE acquisition is well worth the purchase price as he sought to underscore the benefits it will have in terms of helping AmEx fulfill its new long-term strategy:
"Expanding our corporate purchasing and expense management services is a top priority for American Express. Acquiring Corporate Payment Services adds to our purchasing card capabilities and gives us the opportunity to accelerate our growth."
What Mr Williams doesn't mention, however, is how the talks began between GE and AmEx could have been initiated; nor does he discuss the behind-the-scenes personal connections between the two companies' board rooms that could have made the deal possible.
NewsVisual created an IntellectSpace Knowledge Map to illustrate the personal connections between the members of the Board of Directors for GE and American Express.
The Knowledge Map shows that a very strong connection between AmEx Director Ursula M Burns and GE Director Ralph S Larsen through Xerox Corp (NYSE: XRX), where Ms Burns is a President/Director and Mr Larsen is a Director. This connection alone certainly establishes the fact that the two board rooms have common personal links, and thus at least one viable conduit for broaching the subject of mutually beneficial deals.
In addition to this personal connection through a corporation, however, there exists between the GE and AmEx board rooms a plethora of personal connections that run through numerous nonprofit organizations, including through several ivy league universities, The Council on Foreign Relations, and the Business Round Table, to a name a few.
For example, AmEx CEO/Chairman Kenneth I Chenault has a personal link through The Council on Foreign Relations and the Partnership for New York City Inc to GE Director Rochelle B Lazarus; in addition, Ms Lazarus is also linked to AmEx Director Charlene Barshefsky via The Council on Foreign Relations as well.
To view additional connections between the GE and AMEX board members, click here for an interactive and fuller version of this IntellectSpace Knowledge Map.
(Note: the information contained and presented in Knowledge Maps is public information from the Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States of America).