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Photo: Thomas Cook Group

Bidders circle to buy Thomas Cook

A Chinese conglomerate which already owns Club Med is among several buyers. And the tour operator could be broken up.

Bidders are circling to buy the tour operator giant Thomas Cook, which could be split up in any future takeover. A Chinese conglomerate, Fosun, is among those interested in snapping up its stores and package deals, the Guardian newspaper reports.

The operator is still struggling with a fall in demand for package holidays as well as tough online competition. It has posted a series of profits warnings, its share price plummeting by 80% over the last year.

In the Nordics, Thomas Cook Northern Europe sells trips from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. The group includes the operators Ving, Globetrotter, Spies and Tjäreborg.

It also owns Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia, which the group said recently it may sell, and the hotel company Hotels & Resorts which operates chains such as Sunwing Family Resorts, Ocean Beach Club and Sunprime Hotels.

The group sells around 1,600,000 trips a year in the Nordic countries.

Eastern buyer
Shanghai-based conglomerate Fosun, which is already Thomas Cook’s biggest shareholder – it holds a 17% stake and runs a joint venture with Thomas Cook in China – is among several companies or groups to show interest in buying all or part of the business.

As it invests more in directly owned hotels, generally a more profitable sector, Thomas Cook says it will consider all options.

Fosun would not be able to gain a majority share in Thomas Cook Airlines because of EU rules but it is eyeing the tour operating business as this would match Fosun’s ownership of the French company Club Med, which it bought in 2015.

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